Will Smith Resigns From Academy

Board says disciplinary process will continue
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2022 6:55 PM CDT
Will Smith Resigns From Academy
Will Smith accepts the Academy Award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "King Richard" at the Oscars on Sunday in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

(Newser) – Facing an investigation and a disciplinary hearing over his assault of comedian Chris Rock on the Oscars stage, actor Will Smith has resigned as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In a statement issued Friday, Smith apologized for his behavior Sunday and said he'll accept any consequences the academy's board decides on, per the Hollywood Reporter. "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," the statement says. "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."

Suspension or expulsion from the academy are among the punishments the board said it was considering against Smith for slapping and screaming at Rock during the broadcast. The organization said Wednesday that Smith had to explain his actions in writing within 15 days, per Variety. Smith's statement Friday said that he had answered the board's notice of the hearing. He has apologized to the academy and to Rock, though in his speech later Sunday night as he accepted the best actor Oscar, he seemed to be trying to justify the slap. His new statement includes a more specific apology, and he promised to work "to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason."

The academy said Friday that it accepted Smith's resignation and will continue its disciplinary process. Resignation would not keep Smith from attending the ceremony in the future, or from being nominated for and winning an Oscar, per the Reporter. "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," Smith's statement says. (Read more Will Smith stories.)

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