Academy Bans Will Smith for 10 Years, Solving All of World’s Problems

The King Richard star cannot win an Oscar for the next decade, so everyone can rest easy now.

Academy Bans Will Smith for 10 Years, Solving All of World’s Problems
Photo:Robyn Beck (Getty Images)

Well, stop the clocks: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has banned actor Will Smith from the Oscars for 10 years, exactly a week after Smith resigned from the Academy on his own. Surely this news—which comes extremely late after Smith slapped Oscars presenter Chris Rock for mocking his wife and changes absolutely nothing—comes as a relief to all of those for whom Smith’s continued presence at celebrity awards shows was sure to destroy life as they know it.

“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,” the organization said in a statement to Variety. “We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted.” Well, I guess, maybe it would kind of do that, except that the Academy continues to invite and give awards to serial abusers of all kinds in Hollywood. Apparently the line must only be drawn at slapping someone during a live broadcast! Woody Allen, for instance—who’s been credibly accused of child sexual abuse and literally married his stepdaughter—has been nominated for 21 Oscars and won three. Luckily for the Academy, he simply never attends the Oscars, so they don’t have to deal with him. And let’s not forget when the “Best Actor” award went to Gary Oldman in 2018—who’s been accused of domestic abuse—for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

The Academy gets no points for finally expelling director Roman Polanksi in 2018—nearly four decades after he was convicted of raping a teenage girl! And Casey Affleck won Best Actor after being sued by two women, and settling those lawsuits, for sexual harassment.

Look: It’s fine to start holding A-list stars accountable now and, I suppose, this is better than not holding them accountable at all. But to make a big show, weeks later, of suspending Smith for slapping someone on stage—only after massive social media outcry and his tendering of his own resignation from the Academy—just feels a bit disingenuous. You either accept bad behavior, or you don’t. Figure it out.

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