In the wake of his Oscars slap of presenter Chris Rock, Will Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday, saying he will accept whatever further sanctions the Academy’s board of directors deems necessary.
“Change takes time, and I’m committed to making sure that violence never triumphs over reason again,” the “King Richard” star said in a statement.
Smith went on to say that he had responded to the Academy’s notice of disciplinary hearing personally. He also expressed sorrow to the Academy, Chris Rock, his family and friends, attendees, nominees and winners, and others.
Will Smith’s full statement is as follows:
“I quickly responded to the Academy’s notice of disciplinary hearing, and I completely accept any and all consequences.” At the 94th Academy Awards, I did something startling, terrible, and unforgivable. I have hurt Chris, his family, many of my personal friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global viewers at home. I had betrayed the Academy’s trust. I robbed other nominees and winners of the chance to celebrate and be recognized for their exceptional efforts. I’m heartbroken. I want to refocus the Academy’s attention on those who deserve it for their achievements, allowing it to focus on the incredible work it does to support cinematic innovation and artistry. As a result, I am resigning from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and I will accept any extra ramifications that the Board may impose. Change takes time, and I’m committed to putting in the work required to guarantee that reason never again triumphs over violence.”
As a result of Smith’s resignation, he will be unable to vote in the Oscars or attend other Academy activities next year. And, regardless of the Academy’s other sanctions, he is unlikely to be invited to the ceremony or receive the Best Actress award at the following year’s Oscars, as is traditional for the previous year’s Best Actor winner. If he is declared ineligible for an Academy Award, his next project, “Emancipation,” a fugitive slave drama directed by Antoine Fuqua and planned to be released by Apple, may suffer as a result.
If the Academy convened an emergency board meeting of its governors on Wednesday to begin its formal review process, Smith could have faced expulsion or suspension from the Academy, as well as becoming ineligible for award consideration. It’s also possible that Smith’s Best Actor Oscar, which he won on Sunday, would be revoked by the Academy, but this is highly unlikely and has never happened previously in the case of a conduct issue.
The Academy’s board of directors will meet again on April 15 as part of the formal review process to determine additional sanctions.
Smith’s resignation comes after a week of controversy that began when he punched Chris Rock in the face and yelled twice at the Oscars, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f–ing mouth!” in response to a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. Many people are now wondering what the actor’s future in Hollywood will be, or whether he can still be considered a bankable, A-list star, and the Academy is being questioned more about why Smith was not removed from the Oscars after the incident.