Major Awards Show Issues "No Violence" Warning in Wake of Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock

The Tony Awards have implemented an explicit “no violence” policy ahead of its 75th annual ceremony in June. The policy comes amid controversy over how the Academy handled Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards on March 27th. The FAQ section of a new Tony Awards email (via NBC News) states the event has a “strict no violence policy.” Additionally, “In the event of an incident, the perpetrator will be removed from the event immediately.”

Many have criticized the Oscars for allowing Smith to enjoy the rest of the show after striking Rock. Reports suggest that removing Smith was discussed but ultimately not done because Rock did not want to worsen the situation.

The Academy issued a statement condemning the violence on the day following the event: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”

In the aftermath of the event, Smith resigned from the Academy. After some deliberation, the Academy banned Smith from the Oscars for 10 years.

“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,” the statement from the Board of Governors read. “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.”

Will Smith stated, “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision” in response to the banning. He previously issued a public apology to Rock.

“Violence in all of its form is poisonous and destructive,” Smith shared on social media. “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.

“I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

The Tony Awards will air on CBS on June 12th. The Tonys will announce nominees on May 9th.


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