Will Smith Resigns from Academy Following Chris Rock Controversy

Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences following his Oscars controversy, where he slapped Chris Rock on stage.

Will Smith photographed at the Oscars
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Image via Getty/Neilson Barnard

Will Smith photographed at the Oscars

Will Smith has decided to resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences following his Oscars controversy.

Smith issued a statement regarding the incident, calling his behavior “shocking, painful, and inexcusable,” per Variety.

“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 continued. “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.”

He also reportedly said that he will consent to any further repercussions that the Academy’s Board of Governors says are suitable—and that the attention of the Oscars should be redirected back to those who won.

“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,” he said, adding that with “change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”

Academy president David Rubin responded to Smith’s resignation. “We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” Rubin 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.”

Following Smith slapping Chris Rock, the actor won best actor for his performance in King Richard. He was also seen dancing to his own hit songs at an Oscars after-party. On Monday, he apologized to Rock on Instagram, a move that Rock’s brother Tony Rock viewed as insincere.

After condemning Smith’s actions in two separate releases earlier this week, the Academy said that Smith had breached its standards of conduct and that he had to submit a written statement clarifying his behavior. He chose to resign rather than be suspended or expelled for the incident.

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