Will Smith resigns from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences

(Oscar® nominee Will Smith arrives on the red carpet of the 94th Oscars® at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, on Sunday, March 27, 2022. Michael Baker / A.M.P.A.S.)

In the wake of the incident that transpired on the stage of the 94th Academy Awards and the hurricane of excrement that followed, Will Smith has decided to resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

During Sunday night’s live broadcast of the Oscars, Will Smith went up on stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock across the face after he made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett. He then casually walked back to his seat and began shouting expletives at Rock, who managed to keep his composure and continue on with the show, even joking backstage that he was “hit by Muhammad Ali and didn’t get a scratch,’ alluding to Smith’s Oscar-nominated role in the 2001 film Ali.

Reports of what transpired after the slap, both backstage and during commercial breaks have been inconsistent and contradictory. Smith took home the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of the Williams sisters’ father, Richard Williams in the film King Richard.  During Smith’s acceptance speech, he attempted to apologize but wasn’t able to clearly communicate his regrets until later that evening in an instagram post

In the days that followed, it was announced in a statement that “The Board of Governors initiated disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy. “

The statement also shared, “At the next board meeting on April 18, the Academy may take any disciplinary action, which may include suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct.”

Smith shared his own statement to the press detailing his regrets and formally resigning from the Academy, 

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

REELated: SAG-AFTRA and BAFTA react to The Slap

What Does That Mean, Exactly?

Smith’s resignation means he can no longer vote for the Academy Awards, but he can still be nominated for future Oscars, attend future ceremonies and keep the statue he won, however, the Academy’s formal review will continue.

Disciplinary action could have resulted in expulsion or an extended suspension, but now they must decide if his resignation is a strong enough punishment or if the situation warrants Smith to be excluded from next year’s Academy Awards ceremony or if there will be any more actions taken. 

The Academy’s president David Rubin responded with a press statement that reads, 

“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.”

Chris Rock declined to file a police report or press charges against the Academy Award winning actor for the misdemeanor assault, however the LAPD is standing by if he changes his mind. LAPD released a statement which said, “The incident involved one individual slapping another,” the statement read. “The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

Rock appears to be attempting to put the altercation behind him and his comments about the incident have been brief and limited. At his first public appearance during a comedy show in Boston, he told the audience that he was “still processing what happened.” 

We all are, Chris. 

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