Was Will Smith’s 10-Year Ban Too Harsh?

By now, everyone knows about the slap heard around the world between Will Smith and Chris Rock. Since that shocking moment, tons of more information has come to light about the situation, notably Chris Rock refusing to press charges and the topic of this article. Will Smith has effectively been banned from the Academy Awards for ten years. Now, the actor still has the ability to be nominated for the prestigious trophy, he just can’t show up to collect it in person. Other than taking away his award, or banning him from being eligible to be nominated again, there wasn’t much else that the Academy could’ve done since Smith put in his resignation. So when it comes to the ten-year ban, was the sentence way too harsh?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the Oscars, Will Smith’s world has surprisingly crumbled. Bad Boys 4 and Fast & Loose have stopped development following the incident. Now it doesn’t mean that Sony and Netflix can’t resume the projects, but given the fact that studios backed off purchasing the rights to Will Smith’s autobiography, his future does seem a bit murky. In truth, Will Smith’s punishment from the Oscar is a light slap on the wrist. At the end of the day, Will Smith can still win an Oscar for whatever role that comes out next. Does it matter if he can’t show up to accept it? Obviously, that’s a question left to Will Smith as perhaps being at the event is a huge and important moment in his life. However, from the outside looking in, this doesn’t have any drastic effects on his career. It’s highly doubtful that Hollywood would put Will Smith on the blacklist for this. What Will Smith did was assault, there’s no question about that. He should have some sort of punishment for unjustly putting his hands on Chris Rock, who was simply doing his job as a comedian by roasting the Hollywood elite. However, his crime has been tame compared to many of the top names in Hollywood.

The Will Smith case appears to be a mask for some deeper issues that the actor should seek out help for. Unless you’re counting the alleged beating that the actor told his bodyguard to give William Hendricks in 1989.  The charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangering of another person, and criminal conspiracy were eventually dropped, but outside of that, Will Smith doesn’t have a criminal history. He made a mistake and since Chris Rock (who was a class act in the way he handled the situation) opted to not press charges, that doesn’t mean his entire life should be destroyed. In fact, the ten-year Oscar ban feels pretty tame as a punishment. Smith shouldn’t have his Oscar stripped. If that’s the route that the Academy wanted to take then they would need to start taking other Oscars from past winners starting with Harvey Weinstein. A better punishment would’ve been to strip away Smith’s nomination rights for a year or two. That would’ve stunk harder because of how much actors value the award. Plus, it isn’t too harsh of a punishment since that wouldn’t stop him from making money or making a living altogether.

Will Smith is going to get over this hurdle. Luckily for the actor, the situation could’ve been worse as he could’ve suffered a huge embarrassment of being arrested on television. Honestly, had the Academy kicked Will Smith out when it clear that the incident wasn’t a joke, then the ten-year ban wouldn’t have been necessary. Will Smith has been working hard to finally get the Academy Award for Best Actor. Him not being able to get onscreen and finally accept the trophy would’ve hit harder because that was supposed to be his big moment. Now that Smith has an Academy Award, it really doesn’t matter to him whether he’s able to accept another one onstage because he already know what it feels like. Either way, the punishment is a minor convenience to the bigger issues that Smith could have. Other than the relationship stuff with Jada, how long is Smith going to be in the doghouse with Tinseltown? Could it actually get to a point where it’s starting to affect his wallet? Hopefully that’s not the case and Smith can put this terrible incident behind him. Granted, the slap will always haunt his career and the Oscars, but as previously stated, Will Smith made a huge mistake. This isn’t murder or any type of heinous crime of that nature, so hopefully his career doesn’t die because of this.

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