On Friday, April 8, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that actor Will Smith had been banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years after slapping Chris Rock during this year’s ceremony.
The letter announced, “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. “
The slap was prompted after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s buzzcut, resulting from her recent diagnosis of alopecia. Rock said, “Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it, ‘while presenting an award.
Some Ohio University students, who had never seen an action such as this on live television, were shocked by the incident.
“I was very surprised, very out of nowhere,” said Rachel Rector, a junior studying visual communication publication design. “I think he should’ve been banned. There is no reason for him to go up there and slap somebody. The circumstances about his wife I totally understand… but maybe just have a conversation, not go up and slap somebody on live television. ”
Following this, Smith won Best Actor and a day later, issued an Apology to the Comedian, to the academy and to the viewers watching at home, saying his actions were “unacceptable” and “not indicative of the man I want to be.”
In a statement to CBS News, Smith accepted his punishment, saying, “I accept and respect the academy’s decision.”
The academy also thanked Rock for keeping his composure after the incident. President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said the academy “did not adequately address the situation in the room.” Rock said he’s still “processing” the incident.
The two believe that Banning Smith “is a step toward a greater goal of protecting the safety of our performers and guests, and restoring trust in the academy.” Yet, many took it Twitter to say there is a double standard in Smith, calling out the Oscars’ history of awarding Celebrities who have been Accused of sexual Assault, racist comments and misogyny.
Controversial Actors such as Kevin Spacey, who faced allegations of sexual Assault, and Woody Allen, whose daughter has Accused him of sexual Assault, have never faced repercussions from the academy. Additionally, two-time Oscar Winner Mel Gibson has never been Punished by the organization after facing accusations of anti-Semitism and domestic violence.
Before Smith, only five people were banned from the Oscars: Harvey Weinstein, Carmine Caridi, Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski and Adam Kimmel.
Students have weighed in on the academy’s decision, and many don’t agree with the 10-year ban.
“Will Smith I don’t think should’ve been banned from the Oscars for that long,” Ryann Davis, a freshman studying political science, said. “Well, you shouldn’t hit people, but also, you shouldn’t say rude, disgusting things about people on national television that are meant to embarrass them and hurt them in any way, like Chris Rock did.”
Meanwhile, others suggest that the academy should place new guidelines on its hosts to prevent an altercation like this from happening again.
“I feel like there should also be some sort of censorship in place where people should not be able to say whatever they want, because I feel like that’s happened a lot in the past where people have said really Cruel and Offensive things because they were given the position of being a host, ”Julia Platt, a freshman studying English, said.