Actor Will Smith, facing possible disciplinary action after he slapped comedian Chris Rock during Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony, has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In a statement, Smith called his actions “shocking, painful and inexcusable,” adding that he will accept any penalty that the Academy’s Board of Governors deems appropriate, Variety reported. The board’s next meeting is scheduled for April 18.
“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 said in a statement. “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.”
Smith added that his actions overshadowed the other winners at the ceremony.
“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,” Smith said in his statement, adding that “change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
“We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” the Academy said in a statement. “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.”
According to the Academy on Wednesday, Smith broke the organization’s code of conduct when he walked onstage and struck Rock. The comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife during Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony, was asked but refused to leave the ceremony, The Associated Press reported.
Smith was given 15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violation, the Academy said.
Rock, a presenter at the Academy Awards, was awarding an Oscar for best documentary feature, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
He was confronted by Smith after the actor reacted negatively to the comedian’s “G.I. Jane 2″ joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, according to the AP. Smith walked onstage and appeared to strike Rock.
After returning to his seat in the audience, Smith shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth,” Variety reported.
The Academy later said it asked Smith to leave the ceremony and he refused. Will Packer, the producer of the show, told “Good Morning America” on Friday that the Los Angeles Police Department was prepared to arrest Smith, but it did not happen because Rock was “dismissive” about pressing charges, ABC News reported.
Smith later went on to win the best actor award for his performance in “King Richard.”
Smith apologized to Rock via social media early Monday evening.
Rock, who opened his Ego Death Tour in Boston on Wednesday, received a pair of standing ovations at the Wilbur Theatre.
Smith’s resignation means he can no longer vote for the Oscars, according to The Hollywood Reporter. However, he still can still be nominated for future Academy Awards, attend future ceremonies and keep the statue he won, the entertainment site reported.
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