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Will Smith resigns from the Academy after slapping Chris Rock at Oscars

▶ Watch Video: Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on stage at Oscars

Will Smith said Friday night that he is resigning from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, less than a week after he slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars. 

“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable,” Smith said in a statement. “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 his actions both “betrayed the trust of the Academy” and “deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work,” adding that he’s “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,” he said. “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,” he added. 

Academy president David Rubin said the organization has “received and accepted” Smith’s resignation, and “will continue to move forward with our disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct.”

Actor Will Smith slaps comedian Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, March 27, 2022.

ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The slap, which sent shock waves across Hollywood, came after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife. Rock said he was looking forward to a sequel to “G.I. Jane” starring Jada Pinkett Smith, which was a reference to her shaved head. Pinkett Smith has spoken publicly about losing her hair from the autoimmune disease alopecia.

Smith then walked onstage and slapped Rock, before returning to his seat and yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.” Rock declined to press charges, and the LAPD did not take any action against Smith, though the incident has sparked intense public debate about whether his actions were justified. The Academy said Wednesday that Smith had been asked to leave after the slap, but he refused. 

Smith’s decision to resign comes days after the Academy said it had launched a formal review into his conduct, which included “inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”

Though it’s possible the Academy could take back the Oscar he won for “King Richard” soon after the slap, Whoopi Goldberg, who serves on the Academy’s Board of Governors, has said they would not strip him of the award.  



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