Will Smith Resigns From Academy Following Chris Rock Oscars Slap Backlash

Will Smith is resigning from the Academy after he received backlash for slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars on Sunday.

The 53-year-old actor released a statement on Friday, confirming his decision to step down.

“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 statement read.

The Oscar winner went on to say that he is “heartbroken” as well as mentioning the list of individuals he has “hurt.”

“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 added that he wants to put the focus back on those who “deserve attention for their achievements” and allow the Academy to continue 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,” Will said.

The actor concluded his statement by promising to make sure this never happens again.

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

The resignation means he can no longer vote for the Oscars, but he is still able to be nominated for future Academy Awards, and attend ceremonies. He can also keep the statue he won.

Shortly after Smith’s statement, David Rubin, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement confirming they accepted his resignation.

“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,” he said.

Viewers were shocked on Sunday when Smith slapped Rock on-stage after he made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair. Jada has been open about her alopecia diagnosis.

When Smith got back to his seat he was spotted saying “keep my wife’s name out of your f—king mouth,” but the audio was cut from the broadcast.

The Board of Governors released a statement on Wednesday, sharing that they had already begun disciplinary proceedings and apologized to Rock.

In the statement, the Academy also revealed that they asked Smith to leave the ceremony, but he refused.

“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”

Smith did stay for the remainder of the show and later apologized to the Academy during his speech after winning best actor for his role in “King Richard.”

On Monday, the Oscar winner also released a statement regarding the incident calling his behavior “unacceptable and inexcusable.”

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Oscars 2022: Best Pics Inside The Show

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“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. 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.”

The 53-year-old then directed his statement directly to the comedian.

“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.”

He also extended his apology to the academy, his “King Richard” costars and his fans.

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-Emely Navarro

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