Will Smith resigns from the Academy in wake of Oscars slap controversy

Will Smith, Academy, Oscars, slap

Less than a week after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars comes the news that the actor has decided to resign from the membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy was exploring what actions to take against Smith, which could have included expulsion or suspension, but he has preemptively chosen to resign. You can read Will Smith’s statement below.

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. 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. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.

Academy President David Rubin responded, “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.” This really only means that Will Smith will no longer be able to vote for the Oscars, but he could still be nominated for future roles and attend future ceremonies. That said, whatever choice the Academy makes with their disciplinary proceedings could change things further.

If you need a refresher about this controversy, Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head (due to alopecia) while presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature. Will Smith then charged onto the Oscars stage and slapped Rock across the face. Visibly confused, Rock said, “Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me,” as Smith yelled for Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth! Shortly after, Will Smith won the Best Actor award for King Richard and tried to justify his actions by invoking his character’s intense loyalty to his family. Although Smith did apologize in his acceptance speech, that apology didn’t extend to Chris Rock. He did publically apologize to Rock the next day, saying, “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.” As Smith mentioned in his resignation statement, he may still face further consequences for his actions.

Source: Variety

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.