LA TimesLA Times
Will Smith accepts the award for Best Actor during the Oscars.
Will Smith accepts the award for lead actor during the 2022 Oscars. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Will Smith is facing a 10-year ban from events held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for hitting Chris Rock at the Oscars. The film academy's decision Friday was met with mixed results, ranging from disbelief to accusations of racism.

The organization contended that the ban was a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the academy.

Many people on social media did not see it that way.

Critics characterized the academy's ruling against the Fresh Prince as racially motivated, while others thought it was a way to make up for past transgressions.

They cited inappropriate behavior by the likes of Oscar winner and critic of Smith, Jim Carrey, who planted a kiss on Halle Berry in 2003 or Smith, who made live-show advances on an unwilling actress at the 1997 MTV Movie Awards.

The ten year ban Will Smith was given feels like it was made a lesson of this Black person.

The ten year ban they gave Will Smith feels very “make a lesson of this Black person.”

— Frederick "Pre-order Patriarchy Blues" Joseph (@FredTJoseph) April 8, 2022

The news story about Smith's punishment is 100% racially motivated, according to Somari. Will Smith slaps a dude for mocking an illness and gets banned.

Others contrasted the academy's swift action with the delayed punishments involving disgraced Hollywood players such as Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski, producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey.

In response to the Weinstein sexual- assault scandal, the academy implemented a code of conduct. Since it was enacted, it has only expelled three people, including the producer of Shakespeare in Love and Bill Cosby. Weinstein and Polanski still have their awards.

They don't love us, just what we create, was not on my bingo card.

The oscars should be banned for 10 years.

The oscars have allowed racism and harassment to happen with no consequences, but they chose to ban will for ten years all over a slap.

There were a few people who supported the decision and many who continued to make fun of the whole debacle.

It was a bad episode. I am not sure if the Academy is a regulatory body or not. They are only responsible for their show, awards, and memberships. Mark Harris wrote that they are right to keep the awards out of it.

Joshua Malina joked that a harsher punishment would have been mandatory attendance for 10 years.

Here is a look at some of the online discourse around the academy's decision.

10 years over slap like they issuing a goddamn prison sentence on a black man i don’t like it.

— 🃏ᴰʳnibby⁷✿ (@ZoroMins) April 8, 2022

baffling that will smith's career is crumbling because of a slap, but whenever some celebrities were outed as legitimate predators, they were still able to stay in business...

racially motivated.


Will Smith is banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years? Will earth even be around in 10 years?

— Erin B. Logan (@erinblogan) April 8, 2022

Will Smith gets a 10 year ban from attending to he Oscars. Damn. They did not say that he’s banned from being nominated for an Oscar.

— Touré (@Toure) April 8, 2022

So to be clear, Will Smith can still be nominated and win an Oscar, he just can't go to the show or Oscar-related events. Makes sense.

— Joe Flint Vessel of Love (@JBFlint) April 8, 2022

BREAKING: Will Smith banned by the Hollywood Academy, 12 days after he slapped Chris Rock.

It took the same Academy 40 years to ban Roman Polanski after he was convicted of raping a child.

— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 8, 2022

White Privilege on parade: Will Smith banned from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years for slapping Chris Rock. In contrast, Donald Trump waged a coup and incited the Jan 6 terrorist attack BUT has suffered NO Penalty at all.

— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) April 8, 2022

The backlash the Academy aka Oscar’s is getting from this Will Smith 10 years ban is a result in listening to rich dumbasses be loud & not the rest of us who just didn’t care that much. A year or two would have been understood…but 10? 😭😂😂😂

Y’all set y’all selves up.

— BLACKLIVESMATTER (@Jasamgurlie) April 8, 2022

i see people on here mad at the Will Smith Oscar ban and I literally don't know if they think it was too much or not enough. Also why they have a preference.

— matt christman (@cushbomb) April 8, 2022

Academy banned Will Smith for 10 years, but not:Kevin SpaceyHarvey WeinsteinCasey AffleckWoody AllenMel GibsonRoman PolanskiJames FrancoJames TobackDustin Hoffman

And there are allegations against Jeffrey Tambor, Richard Dreyfuss, James Woods, and Ansel Elgort. #Oscars

— Paul Dawkins (@Paul__Dawkins) April 8, 2022

How exactly did Will Smith slapping a guy cause more controversy than Ezra Miller being an actual psychopath?

— Frankie 🏳️‍⚧️ (@frankieA_99) April 2, 2022

Will Smith banned for 10 years which is...extreme & unnecessary. But the Academy gave Roman Polanski an Oscar & the crowd stood up with a standing ovation. It's all a mess. I hope people stop worshipping celebrities & politicians. You're seeing behind the curtain now. It's ugly.

— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) April 8, 2022

Will Smith is really banned from the Oscars for 10 years for a small slap while rapists, pedophiles and abuser are welcomed with a big hug

— Bella 49 days 💕 (@Nonisbitch) April 8, 2022

Will Smith being banned from the Oscars for 10 years is astounding. They really kept giving awards to known sexual abusers and pedophiles, but a slap is really where they’re going to start banning people.

— Natalie Dallas (@DallasasinTexas) April 8, 2022

Mark my words (I would say "favorite this tweet" but who knows what the TL is in 10 years): the first moment Will is back on the Oscar stage, even if just as a presenter, he gets a standing ovation

— Naima Cochrane (@naima) April 8, 2022

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for some form of consequence. But for the Oscars to ban him for 10 f**king years… that’s excessive.

— sunny (@starshowers89) April 8, 2022

The story was contributed to by a Times intern.

The story was originally published in the Los Angeles Times.

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