Will Smith resigns from the Academy over slap

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Will Smith has resigned from the motion picture academy following his Oscars night slap of Chris Rock and says he will accept any further punishment the organisation imposes.

Smith says he will “fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has accepted Smith’s resignation, president David Rubin says.

“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,” Rubin said on Friday.

“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,” Smith said in a statement.

“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.

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

Camera IconPresenter Chris Rock, left, reacts after being hit on stage by Will Smith while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022. Credit: Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

The resignation came two days after the academy’s leadership board met to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violations against the group’s standards of conduct.

On Sunday, Smith strode from his front-row Dolby Theatre seat on to the stage and smacked Rock, who had made a joke at the expense of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Moments later, he went on to win the best actor award for his role in King Richard.

Rock declined to file charges. He has only briefly addressed the attack publicly, saying at one comedy concert in Boston that he was still “kind of processing what happened”.

Smith stunned Rock, the audience 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.”

Will Smith
Camera IconWill Smith says he’ll accept any further consequences the academy’s board deems appropriate. Credit: AP

Pinkett Smith, who has spoken publicly about her hair loss condition, alopecia, had a closely shaved head similar to that of Demi Moore in the original movie.

After Smith’s attack, he returned to his seat and angrily twice shouted at Rock to “get my wife’s name out your (expletive) mouth”. When Smith took the stage again less than hour later to accept his Oscar, he tearfully apologised to the academy but omitted any mention of Rock.

The fallout was immediate and intense. Smith was widely condemned for responding with violence and for marring his long-sought Oscar victory and overshadowing the night’s other winners.



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