‘You Don’t Need Them People’s Approval’: Fans Tell Will Smith to Move on Following Report Chris Rock Is a Big Obstacle to Rescinding Actor’s 10-Year Oscars Ban

Two years after being banned from the Oscar Awards, Will Smith has some momentum to have the Academy reinstate him, a new report claims.

The “King Richard” actor was given a 10-year ban from the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences after smacking host Chris Rock in the face for making a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith during the live broadcast of the 94th Academy Awards show.  

Smith casually walked up to the stage, slapped the comedian, returned to his seat, where he yelled out, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f–ing mouth.”

will smith slapped chris rock at the oscars
Will Smith (left) fans say he deserves redemption following his action packed performance in “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” two years after he slapped Chris Rock (right) at the Oscars. (Photos: Kevin Winter/Getty Images, Al Seib/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)

In addition to embarrassing Rock and causing him considerable trauma, the act overshadowed a historic night. Smith’s actions ruined his Best Actor award his first Oscar ever and tarnished QuestLove’s Best Documentary Feature win. It also cast a shadow over Will Packer, who made history for hiring the first all-Black production team in the Oscars history. Smith has since apologized, repeatedly.

On April 2, 2022, he resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In his statement to the academy, he said, “The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home.”

Smith wrote, “I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken.”

“I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film,” he continued to express.

A week later, the academy banned Smith from all their sponsored events, virtual or in person, for the next decade.

Now, with the blockbuster success of his new film “Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” which in a month’s time has made over $178 million at the box office ($79 million was made the first week), Smith’s advocates hope the Academy will consider lifting the ban.

In Touch Weekly reports that its unnamed source said people who want Smith unbanned know the challenges that he faces.

“Will’s defenders are always reminding people that, with respect to ‘The Slap,’ Will apologized in no uncertain terms, but more importantly, Will is selling tickets and putting butts in seats at a time when the whole business is struggling,” the insider said.

“That counts for a lot,” they added. “Just ask Will’s old pal Tom Cruise. Nobody was bringing up Scientology when Tom was filling cinemas week after week two years ago with ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’ Will is a sinner, but sinners can be forgiven and he’s driving a lot of business right now, against all odds.”

The Jasmine Brand posted the news about Smith earning his way back into Hollywood popularity and its 17.1K followers weighed in.

“It’s time . YT actors have done worse w no ban,” one said, as someone else said, “10 years is excessive.”

Fans even spoke directly to their superstar, “Dear William, F**k The Oscars! You Don’t Need Them Peoples Approval.”

Others saw it differently, saying, “Nah son, you gotta sit on that verdict,” and “Nah there are consequences to what we do.”

Some just want the “Emancipation” actor to stop begging to be somewhere where people don’t want him, posting, “F the Oscar’s.”

“I get it but…he don’t need the fckin Academy!” one IG user said. “His career is more than solidified! Don’t go where you ain’t really wanted.”

As solidified as his career is, there are challenges for Smith in that particular organization. The In Touch Weekly source said a major block is that there are still voting members of the Academy who are sorely against the “Ali” actor being forgiven so quickly and wished that he was arrested for the physical assault he perpetrated against Rock on that night. But there is a voice that might be louder than their outrage.

“The big change this summer is that the fans have spoken, and they want Will to keep being a movie star,” the person said. “That’s huge and Will is using that as his rocket fuel to get back into the good graces of the Academy, which has more Black members than ever before.”

Another obstacle that Smith faces, according to the source, is that still “Chris Rock is rightfully still very upset about the incident.”

Because the former “Saturday Night Live” standup’s feelings carry significant weight, many will be more sympathetic to him.

The insider added that many of the people in power are eagerly awaiting the moment when Chris and Will publicly and genuinely reconcile, and saying, “That’s going to give the Academy the confidence to revisit their decision to ban Will from the Oscars for 10 years.”

That doesn’t seem like it will happen anytime soon, as Rock, who still has not apologized to Pinkett Smith, thinks he is “lame,” specifically as believes Smith is kissing up to fans by “making light” of the Oscar slap in the recent-released “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” movie.

A source said, Chris thinks it’s a pretty cheap stunt and he’s telling people how lame he finds it. It’s a classic case of Will making light of a horrific situation.”

Smith is not the first actor to have been banned. Richard Gere was banned for 20 years in 1993 for speaking out about human rights in China and going off script as a presenter of the “Best Art Direction Award, according to Business Insider.

Related: Deuce Bigalow’ Actor Rob Schneider Blasts the Oscars for Letting Will Smith Get Away with Slapping Chris Rock to Avoid Coming Off Racist

Another Philly legend, Bill Cosby was banned permanently in 2018 after being convicted and sentenced of the sexual assault of basketball player Andrea Constand. Also forever banned is Roman Polanski for his sex crimes against women.

Harvey Weinstein is also included in the short list of people expelled because of alleged sex crimes against women that worked for him.

Contrary to what many may believe, Smith is not totally consumed by the Academy. The actor-turned-producer is booked and busy with six films in the pipeline.

Two of the films are highly anticipated. One is “I Am Legend 2,” the sequel to his 2007 blockbuster movie. Another is “The Council,” where will play, Nicky Barnes, the 1970s-era Harlem gangster nicknamed “Mr. Untouchable.” And a “Men in Black 5” has just gotten the green light from Sony productions.

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