Did Will Smith lose his 2022 Oscar after hitting Chris Rock?
Smith was banned from the Oscars for ten years following the slap but what did it mean for the award he won that year?
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The post-Oscars 2022 headlines should have been about the talented award winners and their contributions to the movie world. Although they will remain part of film-making history, they were upstaged by Will Smith and Chris Rock, the latter getting a hard slap from the man who won Best Actor on the night for his performance in King Richard.
As well as telling Rock where to get off, after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, the former Fresh Prince hit him in the face. Though Smith retained the award, people asked if it could be taken away from him for that conduct.
Did Will Smith breach Oscars code of conduct?
We can turn to its code of ethics for some potential guidance. For this we need to go back to 2017, when the organization made a clear stance against misconduct after the industry sex abuse scandal.
“Academy membership is a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers,” AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson wrote to members via Variety.
“In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity,” she continued.
“There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality. The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy’s mission and reflective of our values.”
Harvey Weinstein and other sexual predators have been stripped of their membership in the Academy for much more serious grievances, but currently there’s no rule in place which makes it possible for an Oscar to be stripped away after it’s been awarded.
It was his first Oscar win, and he made reference to the controversial moment in his speech.
“Denzel [Washington] said to me just a few minutes ago. ‘Be careful because at your highest moment that’s when the devil comes for you.’”