Will Smith Resigns From the Academy Over Chris Rock Incident

Later this month, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will meet to vote on disciplinary action for Will Smith for his behavior at last weekend’s Oscars. Slapping Chris Rock for a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair was not only shocking and inappropriate, it may have violated the Academy’s Standards of Conduct. Based on that upcoming vote, the group could have moved to suspend or even expel Smith from the Academy.

Before they could, Smith has decided to quit the group. In a statement, Smith called his behavior at the Oscars “shocking, painful and inexcusable” and said he wanted to “return the spotlight on those who deserve attention for their achievements” after a week in which Smith’s actions , and the Academy’s inaction, coupled with an ongoing debate over whether Smith was asked to leave and refused, has overshadowed just about every storyline coming out of the Oscars, including surprise wins for smaller movies like coda.

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While Rock briefly addressed the incident on the opening night of his new standup tour, he largely avoided commenting on the slap in detail. According to Will Packer, the producer of the Oscar telecast, he went to Rock to see if he wanted Smith removed from the show, and Rock said no. Packer claimed in Good morning america that Rock also “scoffed” at the idea of ​​arresting Will Smith for the incident, saying he was “fine”.

After consulting with Rock, Packer told him GMA he “went to the Academy leadership that was on site and I said, ‘Chris Rock doesn’t want [to kick Smith out] … Rock has made it clear that he doesn’t want to make a bad situation worse.’”

Even with Smith’s resignation, the saga is not over. The Academy board will still vote on the incident later this month and could determine that further sanctions are warranted. (In his statement, Smith also said that he would “accept whatever other consequences” they decide to impose.)

Smith’s full statement on his resignation from the group is below (via Deadline):

I have responded directly to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice and will accept any and all consequences for my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. The list of people I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, everyone in attendance and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of the opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I’m heartbroken. I want to refocus on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to return to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film. Therefore, I am resigning my membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and will accept any other consequences the Board deems appropriate.

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