With one Oscar to his name and facing expulsion from the group that hands them out, Will Smith announced Friday that he is resigning from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, following his slapping of Chris Rock at Sunday’s gala.
“I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate,” Smith said in a statement. “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. 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. 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.”
The King Richard Best Actor continued, “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.”
Smith finished up, saying, “Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
Seconds after Chris Rock joked that Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, resembled Demi Moore in G.I. Jane at Sunday’s award party, Smith charged the stage, smacked Rock, and shouted a vulgarity at the comedian, demanding that he desist in teasing Pinkett Smith.
Smith was allowed to remain in his prime seat at the Dolby Theatre for the rest of the ceremony and left Rock out of his tearful onstage apology after collecting his award. Theories abound as to why.
In a statement to ET on Friday, Academy President David Rubin said, “We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. We will continue to move forward with our disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, in advance of our next scheduled board meeting on April 18.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Smith’s resignation bars him from voting for future Oscars, though he can still be nominated for them, attend all the ceremonies, and keep the statue he won.
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