Will Smith resigns from the Academy as a result of the backlash of Chris Rock’s Oscar slap.
Will Smith, who was facing expulsion or suspension from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for assaulting Chris Rock at last Sunday’s Oscars broadcast, has instead resigned. The decision comes as the actor faces the most serious crisis of his career, and the Academy Awards organisation has battled to cope with the consequences from the brawl. Smith stated in a statement that his actions were “shocking, distressing, and unforgivable,” and that he would accept any extra punishments imposed by the Academy’s Board of Governors.
“Chris, his family, many of my good friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and worldwide audiences at home are among those I have injured,” Smith stated. “I broke the Academy’s confidence.” I took away the chance for other candidates and winners to enjoy and be recognised for their outstanding efforts. “I’m devastated.”
Smith also admitted that his behaviour at the 94th Academy Awards overshadowed other winners.
“I want to refocus attention on those who deserve it, and let the Academy to go back to the amazing job it does to encourage innovation and artistry in cinema,” he said, adding, “change takes time, and I am dedicated to doing the work to guarantee that violence never again overtakes reason.”
“We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith‘s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” said Academy president David Rubin in a statement. In advance of our next planned board meeting on April 18, we will continue to move through with our disciplinary processes against Mr. Smith for breaches of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct.”
During the programme, Smith attacked the stage and punched Rock after Rock made a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, comparing her shorn head to Demi Moore’s buzzcut in “G.I. Jane.” Pinkett Smith has alopecia, which causes her hair to fall out.
Smith was asked to leave the ceremony by the Academy, but he refused. According to Variety, the organization’s officials never demanded that he be evicted in writing, and producer Will Packer begged him to remain. Packer claimed Smith should remain at Rock’s request during an interview on GMA on Friday, which Rock’s team has rejected.
It’s a convoluted story of precisely what happened behind the scenes. What is clear is that Smith stayed in the Dolby Theatre and won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in “King Richard.” Smith seemed to attempt to excuse his conduct in an impassioned statement, claiming that his outburst was the product of the same protective impulses that drove his character in the film, Richard Williams, to drive his daughters, Venus and Serena Williams, to achieve in tennis. Some Academy members were offended by his speech, initial reluctance to apologise to Rock, and choice to attend the Vanity Fair party after the Oscars.
“I was out of line and I was wrong,” Smith eventually admitted to Rock on Monday. “A joke about Jada’s physical condition was too much for me to stomach,” he said, adding that he responded emotionally.
Following an earlier statement in which it said that it did not condone violence, the Academy issued two further comments in which it harshly chastised Smith. Smith had breached the Academy’s norms of behaviour, according to the organisation, and he had 15 days to give a written response justifying his actions. Smith might face suspension, expulsion, or other consequences, according to the group.