The 94th annual Academy Awards was a night like no other.  While the list of winners is the most diverse event seen in Hollywood, the awards presentation was not without its share of controversy.

When comedian Chris Rock took the stage to present the award for Best Documentary, he took advantage of the appearance to do a short monologue that included a jibe at Jada Plunkett Smith who has been vocal about her alopecia which causes hair loss.  However, Rock’s remark of, “Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” did not sit well with everyone; especially Smith husband Will. 

Smith calmly strode up to the stage and slapped Rock across the face.  After returning to his seat, Smith told Rock to “keep my wife’s name out your (expletive) mouth.”

Rock’s remark was in reference to the 1997 film “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore who shaved her head for the role.

While Chris Rock refused to file any charges over the incident, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were not so magnanimous.

After a virtual meeting that lasted some two hours, the Academy’s Board of Governors has chosen to ban Will Smith from attending any Academy events for the next 10 years.  While Smith is not permitted to present an award or even attend the ceremonies, the band does not include any future nominations for awards.

Prior to the Board of Governors announcement, Will Smith had resigned from his membership in the Academy; which means Smith cannot cast a vote for any nominees.  Upon hearing the decision, Smith noted that he accepted and respected the Academy’s decision.  Smith added, “shocking, painful, and inexcusable.”

The Academy also spoke on the incident saying, “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.”

While there is some controversy over whether Smith was told to leave the premises after the face slap; the Academy did issue a statement on their actions (or lack thereof) of the incident saying, “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.”

Later that same evening, Smith won the Best Actor Award for his role in “King Richard” to become only the second man of colour to win the award after Sidney Portier.