Entertainment

Will Smith Resigns From Academy Over Oscars Slap

Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in response to mounting controversy around him slapping Chris Rock at last Sunday’s Oscars.

“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. 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,” he said in a statement obtained by Vanity Fair on Friday evening. “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. So, 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 concluded in the statement, “Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”

The Academy’s Board of Governors is set to meet on April 18, where it’s expected that some disciplinary action will be announced; however, with those options including expulsion or suspension, Smith’s resignation may have preempted whatever is decided. (Another discussed option, a revocation of the Academy Award he won on Sunday for best actor, is less likely given this organization’s history.)

Following Smith, Academy president David Rubin said in a statement, “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.”

Smith had previously apologized to Rock and the Academy in a statement posted to his Instagram on Monday evening. However, as more people in Hollywood and involved with the show—including hosts Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer—spoke out against the slap in strong terms, pressure mounted on the Academy to respond accordingly. Smith resigning also comes after a flurry of conflicting reports over whether he was formally asked to leave the ceremony, and whether he refused.

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