Will Smith resigns from the Motion Picture Academy
Will Smith resigned from the film academy on Friday following his nightly Oscar slap in the face of Chris Rock and said he would accept any further punishment imposed by the organization.
Smith, in a statement Friday afternoon, said he would “fully accept all consequences of my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards were shocking, painful and inexcusable.”
Film academy president David Rubin said Smith’s resignation had been accepted. “We will continue to advance our disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violating the Academy’s standards of conduct, prior to our next board meeting scheduled for April 18.”
Smith loses the right to vote with his resignation. But there are other, less tangible benefits of being part of the Academy, Hollywood’s most prestigious organization: It gives its members industry credibility. This is an invitation only and membership review once a year.
“I have betrayed the trust of the Academy. I have deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work,” its statement said. “I am heartbroken. I want to put the spotlight back on those who deserve recognition for their accomplishments and allow the Academy to return to the incredible work it does to support creativity and the art of filmmaking.
“Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason,” Smith concluded in the statement.
The resignation came two days after the academy’s board of directors met to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Smith for breaching the group’s standards of conduct. These procedures could have resulted in a suspension or an expulsion, and it was not immediately known what additional penalty he could incur.
Had he been expelled, Smith would have joined a small group of men retired from the academy: Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and actor Carmine Caridi, who was expelled for sharing award selectors.
On Sunday, Smith emerged from his front row seat at the Dolby Theater onto the stage and punched Rock, who had made a joke at the expense of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Moments later, he won Best Actor for his role in ‘King Richard’.
Rock, who was about to present the Oscar for Best Documentary, declined to press charges at the request of the police. He only briefly addressed the attack publicly, saying at a comedy gig in Boston this week that he was still “processing what happened.”
Smith stunned Rock, the theater crowd and viewers at home when he took the stage after Rock joked, “Jada, I love you. ‘GI Jane 2’, can’t wait to see it. “
Pinkett Smith, who has spoken publicly about her hair loss condition, alopecia, had a clean-shaven head similar to that of Demi Moore in the original film.
After Smith’s attack, he returned to his seat and angrily yelled twice at Rock to “get my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth”. When Smith took the stage less than an hour later to accept his Oscar, he tearfully apologized to the academy, but notably omitted any mention of Rock.
The fallout was immediate and intense. Smith had supporters for standing up for his wife, but he was widely condemned for responding violently and for both spoiling his long-sought Oscar win and eclipsing the other winners of the night.