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Will Smith news - live: 50 Cent criticises Academy for ‘harsh’ ruling after actor’s lengthy Oscars ban

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It’s been nearly two weeks since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.

The Academy convened yesterday (8 April) to decide on what “consequences” Smith will face for the incident, which saw the actor hit Rock on stage and swear at him after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

“Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see you,” Rock had joked, in an apparent reference to Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. Pinkett Smith stated last year that she shaved her head after struggling with alopecia.

Smith, who won the Best Actor prize later in the ceremony, walked on stage and struck Rock, before shouting at him: “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth.”

In a statement issued after the incident, the Academy “condemned” Smith’s actions, and said an investigation was being launched into prospective sanctions.

“The Academy condemns the actions of Mr Smith at last night’s show,” said the organisation. “We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”

Smith subsequently resigned from the Academy, but some have speculated that he could be stripped of his Best Actor prize – which he won during this year’s ceremony, for his role in the tennis biopic King Richard.

Follow live updates below.

Key points

  • Will Smith banned from all Academy events for 10 years

  • Academy says decision hopes to ‘begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved’

  • Smith says he ‘accepts and respects’ verdict

  • Rock briefly jokes about incident at a stand-up set on Friday, says ‘I got my hearing back’

  • Actor is still eligible to win Oscars over the next decade, despite ban

  • The Academy convened to decide punishment today, after moving meeting forward 10 days

  • What does it mean to resign from the Academy?

09:03 , Jacob Stolworthy

50 Cent has called out the Academy for its Will Smith ruling.

The rapper weighed in after it was announced Smith had been banned from attend the awards show for 10 years.

He said that members were “doing Will dirty”, calling the verdict “too harsh”.

‘Sopranos’ actor defends Chris Rock

Sunday 10 April 2022 00:00 , Nathan Place

The actor Stevie Van Zandt, who played Silvio Dante on The Sopranos, has condemned Will Smith’s violent behavior at the Oscars and praised Chris Rock’s self-control.

“Will Smith needs to thank his lucky stars that Chris Rock is as civilized and sophisticated and humble and intelligent and compassionate as he is,” Van Zandt tweeted. “Because if it had been ANYBODY I know, Will Smith would have never made it back to his table.”

Chris Rock says he had ‘no idea’ Jada Pinkett Smith had alopecia

Saturday 9 April 2022 23:00 , Nathan Place

Chris Rock has said little about the Oscars slap incident, but one source has told TMZ the comedian “had no idea” Pinkett Smith has alopecia.

The source also said Rock and Will Smith haven’t spoken to each other about incident, and the two stars went to different Oscars afterparties.

Read more here:

Chris Rock ‘had no idea’ Jada Pinkett Smith had alopecia before the Oscars

Billy Crystal calls Will Smith slap ‘an assault'

Saturday 9 April 2022 22:00 , Nathan Place

Nine-time Oscars host Billy Crystal has called Will Smith’s slap at the awards show “an assault” and “a most disturbing incident”.

In a recent appearance on Bob Costas’s chat show Back on the Record on HBO Max, Crystal called the altercation a “most disturbing incident, for sure. It was an assault. I’ve had experiences. I hosted the Grammys three times and I’ve been thrown things.”

Read more here:

Will Smith’s Oscars slap was ‘an assault’, Billy Crystal says

A look back at Chris Rock’s ‘Good Hair’ documentary

Saturday 9 April 2022 21:00 , Nathan Place

After Chris Rock was slapped for telling a joke about a Black woman’s hair, some pointed out that in 2009, the comedian produced a documentary about that exact subject. Here’s a look back at The Independent’s review of the film, Good Hair:

'Good Hair' hits US cinemas

Saturday 9 April 2022 20:00 , Louis Chilton

It was pretty short and sweet, but anyone wanting to read Smith’s full response to the 10-year ban need look no further than here...

Will Smith responds to Oscars ban

Saturday 9 April 2022 19:00 , Louis Chilton

Larry Gleason, an Academy member on the executives branch, said (in the report linked below): “The Academy dropped the ball by not taking action when it happened.

“This after-the-fact punishment is like the old saying, ‘Closing the barn door…’ Too late and too little.

“After the La La Land fiasco, you would have thought they would have handled it better. Sad event for all concerned.”

Remember the La La Land fiasco? Seems almost quaint now.

Here’s an old piece of ours explaining exactly what happened during that fateful 2017 Oscar night – which turned out to be only the second most dramatic ceremony of the last decade.

How the biggest mess up in Oscars history happened

Chris Rock jokes about Oscars slap: ‘I got my hearing back’

Saturday 9 April 2022 18:30 , Nathan Place

Chris Rock his broken his silence about being slapped at the Oscars to make a joke about it, reports say.

“I’m OK, I have a whole show and I’m not talking about [the Will Smith incident] until I get paid,” the comedian said at a comedy show, according to the Desert Sun. “Life is good. I got my hearing back.”

Chris Rock jokes ‘I got my hearing back’ after Will Smith banned from Oscars for slap

Saturday 9 April 2022 18:00 , Louis Chilton

Whoopi Goldberg is one of the governors of the Academy’s actor’s branch, and her reaction to the slap seemed fairly sympathetic to Smith.

“Sometimes you get to a point when you behave badly,” she said in the aftermath of the incident. “I myself have behaved badly on occasion.”

This week, she addressed the subject again, admitting that some of Will Smith’s future projects “are in question”.

“The question is, does he have a path back?” she continued. “Yes, of course he does... He’ll be fine, he’ll be back. No worries.”

Whoopi Goldberg dismisses speculation Will Smith’s career could be over

David Oyelowo says he had racially ‘coded’ encounter after Oscars slap

Saturday 9 April 2022 17:30 , Nathan Place

Actor David Oyelowo says he had a racially “coded” encounter with “an older white gentleman” at an Oscar after-party who told him Will Smith “should have been dragged right out of there.”

“His gossipy lean and the half smile on his face is indicative of what must not be allowed to creep into the aftermath of this incident,” Oyelowo wrote in a column for the Hollywood Reporter. “This incident should not be a springboard for proxy arguments in Hollywood circles about race, respectability and belonging. I’m calling on the good people with good intentions to stay focused on building on the great gains we’ve recently made.”

Read more here:

David Oyelowo had ‘racially coded encounter’ after Will Smith Oscars slap

Saturday 9 April 2022 16:53 , Louis Chilton

There’s been no shortage of opinions over the past two weeks – first over the initial incident, now over whether the Academy was right to hand Smith the decade-long ban.

The Hollywood Reporter spoke to a number of Academy members about the decision, and recieved a range of responses.

Stephen Potter, a member on the Academy’s sound branch, said he was “surprised” at the Academy’s 10-year ban, describing it as “harsher than I imagined it would be”.

“Ten years is quite a long time and it’s possible this incident will mostly be forgotten before this term concludes,” he said.

“The opinions are split between those who do and don’t support Mr. Smith’s actions, but the fact remains this incident was very unfortunate on many levels.”

Saturday 9 April 2022 15:11 , Louis Chilton

Full story about Chris Rock’s quotes from last night below.

Attendees were reportedly forbidden from bringing mobile phones into the gig, and were made to leave them in sealed pouches.

I don’t believe this is hugely uncommon for high-profile stand-ups touring new material – especially when there’s as much of a media frenzy as there is around Rock right now.

Chris Rock jokes ‘I got my hearing back’ after Will Smith banned from Oscars for slap

Saturday 9 April 2022 14:41 , Louis Chilton

Chris Rock reportedly briefly addressed to the latest developments during a stand-up set in Palm Springs last night.

California-based paper Desert Sun quotes the comedian as saying: “I’m OK, I have a whole show and I’m not talking about [the Will Smith incident] until I get paid.

“Life is good. I got my hearing back,” he joked.

Saturday 9 April 2022 14:13 , Louis Chilton

While it may be possible that Smith receives another Oscar nomination over the next ten years, it’s far from a given.

Prior to his win for King Richard, Smith had only been nominated two times, with the most recent nod coming in 2007, for The Pursuit of Happiness.

Before that, he had been in contention for Best Actor for his role in Ali in 2002, but ultimately lost out to Denzel Washington (for Training Day).

Saturday 9 April 2022 12:34 , Louis Chilton

Chris Rock has yet to issue any sort of response to the Will Smith verdict – not that he needs to, of course.

The comedian was praised by the Academy in their letter announcing Smith’s ban.

Last week, Rock briefly addressed the incident during a stand-up performance, telling audience members that he was “still processing” what had happened.

Read more here...

Chris Rock breaks silence on Will Smith Oscars slap

Saturday 9 April 2022 11:11 , Louis Chilton

For anyone who missed the news last night and is just tuning in now: the Academy has announced its verdict on Will Smith.

The actor will be banned from attending all Academy events, both in-person and virtually, for 10 years.

His Oscar win for King Richard will not be revoked, however, and Smith will still be eligible to win additional Oscars during the period of his ban.

Reactions to the news have inevitably been mixed, but the general feeling on social media seems to be that the decision was a harsher one than many were were expecting.

Saturday 9 April 2022 09:47 , Louis Chilton

Smith may be a persona non grata at the Oscars for the next 10 years, but that doesn’t neccessarily mean his film work is going to dry up.

A high-budget AppleTV+ thrilled entitled Emancipation is already in post-production, with the film expect to be released later this year.

Smith was also slated to feature in a third sequel to Bad Boys, as well as a feature for Netflix called Fast and Loose.

The status of these last two projects remains a little more precarious, however, with filming having not yet begun. Some reports have claimed that the Netflix film has been placed “on hold” following Smith’s Oscar incident, but there’s been nothing official on it yet.

Saturday 9 April 2022 08:33 , Louis Chilton

Rapper 50 Cent is among those to criticise the punishment doled out to Smith, describing it in a tweet as being “too harsh”.

“Got Damn they doing Will dirty,” he wrote. “This is too harsh so he cant come back till he 63 years old.”

Saturday 9 April 2022 05:36

Smith is not the first star to have left the Academy under acrimonious circumstances. Here’s a full list:

All the stars who have been expelled from the Academy

Saturday 9 April 2022 03:36 , Kevin Perry

Here’s Will Smith’s response to the announcement that he will be banned from the Oscars, as well as other Academy events, for the next ten years:

Will Smith responds to Oscars ban

Saturday 9 April 2022 03:05 , Kevin Perry

To recap today’s news, although Will Smith has been banned from the Academy for 10 years, he will still be able to be nominated for future Oscars. Here’s the full story:

Can Will Smith still be nominated for Oscars during his ban?

Saturday 9 April 2022 02:36 , Kevin Perry

Trust Ricky Gervais to have a witty retort to Smith’s ban:

Ricky Gervais responds to Will Smith’s 10 year Oscars ban

Friday 8 April 2022 23:32 , Kevin Perry

Meanwhile Lizzie Molyneux, co-creater of underrated, Nick Offerman-starring animated sitcom The Great North, highlights the difference in the recent treatment of Smith and comedian Louis CK:

Friday 8 April 2022 22:47 , Kevin Perry

Over on Twitter, Mrs Doubtfire screenwriter Randi Mayem Singer wonders why Will Smith has been handed a lengthier punishment than anybody involved in the 6 January 2021 Capitol riot:

Friday 8 April 2022 22:00 , Louis Chilton

Gervais has been a reasonably prominent voice among celebrities in the aftermath of the Smith-Rock incident.

Addressing the joke which prompted Smith to storm onstage, Gervais described Rock’s quip as “tame”, saying: “You don’t hit someone over a joke, however bad it is – and it wasn’t bad!”

During a stand-up show in London last week, Gervais said that he would have made light of Jada Pinkett Smith’s “boyfriend” instead of her appearance.

Gervais was seemingly referencing Pinkett Smith’s “entanglement” with singer August Alsina, which she discussed during her Red Table Talk chat show.

Ricky Gervais mocks claim alopecia is a ‘disability’ over Chris Rock’s ‘GI Jane’ joke

Friday 8 April 2022 21:42 , Kevin Perry

Comedian Ricky Gervais has reacted to news of the ban with a joke:

Ricky Gervais responds to Will Smith’s 10 year Oscars ban

Friday 8 April 2022 21:32 , Louis Chilton

While Smith’s Best Actor win will forever be overshadowed by the Chris Rock drama, many viewers may be curious about the film that gave Smith his win, King Richard.

The film is available to stream on Virgin TV Go in the UK, and on HBO Max in the US.

In it, Smith plays Richard Williams, the father of aspiring tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams – both of whom were in attendance at the Oscars yesterday.

Read Clarisse Loughrey’s four-star review of the film below...

Will Smith is a true movie star in King Richard – review

Friday 8 April 2022 21:19 , Louis Chilton

And here’s more on Smith’s eligibility for Oscar contention over the coming ten years.

The actor’s ban covers virtual appearances as well as in-person ones, meaning that he would not be able to provide a video acceptance speech in the event he was a winner.

Can Will Smith still be nominated for Oscars during his ban?

Friday 8 April 2022 21:06 , Louis Chilton

More on Smith’s response to the decision below.

The short statement echoes what Smith had said previously, that he was willing to “accept” the Academy’s punishment without dispute.

“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” he had said in the aftermath of Oscar night.

“ My behaviour at the Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.

“There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

Will Smith responds to Oscars ban

Friday 8 April 2022 21:00 , Louis Chilton

Every cloud, I suppose...

Friday 8 April 2022 20:53 , Louis Chilton

When Smith announced he was resigning from the Academy, many people wondered what exactly it means to leave the organisation.

Only three people, including Smith, have ever resigned as members.

The other two – sound engineer Tom Fleischman and production sound mixer Peter Kurland – occurred in March 2022 after it was announced that the technical awards would be announced before the ceremony had officially begun.

There have, however, been several stars who have been expelled from the Academy in the past, including Carmine Caridi, Harvey Weinstein, and Roman Polanski.

See below for a breakdown of all the stars who have been removed from the Academy, and why...

All the stars who have been expelled from the Academy

Friday 8 April 2022 20:40 , Louis Chilton

One interesting fact to consider: according to The Washington Post, Smith is still eligible for awards during his decade-long ban.

So we could theoretically be in a position where Smith is nominated again – or even awarded a second Oscar – but is forbidden from attending the ceremony.

However, it’d be fair to say that there are plenty in the Academy’s voting body who are unlikely to vote for him any time soon...

Friday 8 April 2022 20:30 , Louis Chilton

Piers Morgan is one of the many commentators to take issue with the Academy’s decision.

“Will Smith banned by the Hollywood Academy, 12 days after he slapped Chris Rock,” the former Good Morning Britain presenter wrote on Twitter.

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

Will Smith responds

Friday 8 April 2022 20:23 , Louis Chilton

Smith has now reacted to the decision, releasing a short statement addressing the verdict.

“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” he said.

Friday 8 April 2022 20:17 , Louis Chilton

So... what does everybody make of that?

It’s not the worst thing that could have happened for Smith – though having his Oscar win revoked was never going to be the likely option.

Judging by Twitter, however, many seem to feel as though the punishment was harsh.

Friday 8 April 2022 20:08 , Louis Chilton

Here’s the letter in full:

The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr Smith exhibit on stage.

During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented.

Today, the Board of Governors convened a meeting to discuss how best to respond to Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars, in addition to accepting his resignation. The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards.

We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances. We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast.

This action we are taking today in response to Will Smith’s behavior is a step toward a larger goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the Academy. We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.

Friday 8 April 2022 20:03 , Louis Chilton

“The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards,” said AMPAS president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson, in a letter sent to Academy members.

Read more below...

Will Smith banned from Oscars and Academy events for 10 years

Friday 8 April 2022 19:59 , Louis Chilton

Just in: the Academy says Smith will be banned from all Academy events or programmes for 10 years.

The immediate aftermath

Friday 8 April 2022 19:50 , Louis Chilton

Millions of people around the world watched the live Oscars telecast, with millions more watching clips of the “slap heard around the world” the morning after.

What you might not have seen, however, was footage captured of Rock in the immediate aftermath of the incident, not broadcast on TV.

Footage shared on social media showed a visibly stunned Rock look around as he attempted to comprehend what just happened.

At one point, he can be seen looking to an unidentified person in the audience, before he makes a face as if to suggest he isn’t sure why Smith slapped him.

You can watch the clip here...

Footage of Chris Rock in immediate aftermath of Will Smith Oscars slap shared online

Friday 8 April 2022 19:36

Several actors were pictured consoling Smith during an ad break in the immediate aftermath of the Chris Rock incident, including Bradley Cooper, Tyler Perry and Denzel Washington.

During Smith’s tearful Best Actor speech, the actor said that Washington told him: “In your highest moments, be careful; that’s when the devil comes for you.”

Speaking publically last Saturday, Washington addressed the incident, and offered his own explanation for Smith’s behaviour.

He said: “There’s a saying when the devil ignores you, then you know you’re doing something wrong. The devil goes, ‘Oh, no, leave him alone, he’s my favourite.’

“Conversely, when the devil comes at you, maybe it’s because he’s trying to do something right. And for whatever reason, the devil got a hold of him that night.

“I don’t wanna say what we talked about – but there but for the grace of God go any of us. Who are we to condemn? I don’t know all the ins and outs of this situation, but I know the only solution was prayer. The way I saw it. The way I see it.”

Read the full story below...

Denzel Washington explains why he thinks Will Smith hit Chris Rock at the Oscars

Friday 8 April 2022 19:25

Does it feel to you like the whole incident is being dragged out for too long? Well, it could have been a lot worse.

The Academy’s crunch meeting was originally set to be held in 10 days’ time, but was moved forward earlier this week to address the situation sooner.

According to a letter written by AMPAS president David Rubin to the Board of Governors, Smith’s decision to resign from the Academy was responsible for the change in date.

“The April 18 date was set in accordance with California law and our Standards of Conduct because our agenda included possible suspension or expulsion of Mr. Smith from membership,” the letter read.

“We were required to provide Mr Smith notice 15 days prior to the board meeting at which such action might be taken, and also give him the opportunity to provide the board a written statement no less than five days prior to that meeting.”

Read more below...

The Academy fast tracks meeting to discuss Will Smith sanctions after Oscars slap

Friday 8 April 2022 19:13 , Louis Chilton

When the prospect of “consequences” was first floated by the Academy, it was thought that Smith could potentially be stripped of his Academy membership.

However, the actor resigned from the organisation last week.

In a statement, Smith called his actions “shocking, painful and inexcusable” and said he will accept any “further consequences” the Academy may still decide on.

“The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home,” Smith’s statement continued.

“I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken.”

For a breakdown of what exactly this resignation means – including whether or not he will be able to participate in future Oscars competitions – see here...

What Will Smith’s Academy resignation means for actor’s future at the Oscars

Friday 8 April 2022 19:04 , Louis Chilton

Much of the decision-making in the aftermath of the Oscars has been shrouded in ambiguity – just how far could the Academy take the sanctions?

Revoking Smith’s Oscar would be the harshest possible outcome, but it’s not neccessarily the likeliest scenario.

Whoopi Goldberg is one of the governors of the Academy’s actor’s branch, and stated outright that Smith’s Oscar would not be taken away.

“Sometimes you get to a point when you behave badly,” she said. “I myself have behaved badly on occasion.”

“We’re not going to take that Oscar from him,” said Goldberg. “There will be consequences I’m sure, but I don’t think that’s what they’re going to do, particularly because Chris said ‘Listen, I’m not pressing any charges.’”

Read her full quotes here...

Whoopi Goldberg reacts to Will Smith slap: ‘We’re not going to take his Oscar’

However, this contradicts some of what has been said elsewhere, with reports emerging of a divide among Academy members regarding Smith’s punishment.

Academy convenes to decide ‘consequences'

Friday 8 April 2022 18:53 , Louis Chilton

Hello, and welcome to the live blog.

We’re following along as the Academy meets to determine what further sanctions Will Smith should face after the incident at the 2022 Oscars.

There’s no word yet on what time a decision is expected, but the meeting is reported to be taking place right now.

If Smith’s Oscar is taken away, it would represent an unprecedented measure from the Academy – but then again, nothing about this year’s ceremony had too much of a precedent.

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