Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences days after beating comedian Chris Rock at the annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
In a statement released Friday, Smith said he would “accept any further consequences” the group’s Board of Governors may deem appropriate.
“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards were shocking, painful and inexcusable,” he said.
The academy said later Friday that it had accepted Smith’s resignation and would continue the disciplinary process against the actor.
Smith previously apologized to the Academy and to Rock. Minutes after slapping Rock on Sunday night, Smith won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in King Richard.
“Love will make you do crazy things,” he said in his acceptance speech, one of several apparent references to his attack on the comedian.
Smith confronted Rock on stage after he made a joke about the cropped hair of Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith’s wife, who suffers from alopecia, a skin condition that can lead to hair loss. After beating Rock, Smith returned to his seat and yelled profanities at his colleague, who shrugged off the attack and continued to present the award for Best Documentary.
US actor Will Smith accepts the award for best actor for ‘King Richard’ onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards on March 27, 2022 at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images
On Wednesday, the organization behind the Oscars said its board had initiated disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violating the group’s standards of conduct. During the board’s next meeting on April 18, it said it would decide what action, if any, it would take, including suspension or expulsion.
With Smith preemptively leaving the organization, it’s unclear what the academy will do next. Smith’s retirement will prevent him from voting for Oscars in the future, but he can still be nominated and win.
According to a producer on the show, the Los Angeles Police Department agreed to arrest Smith at Sunday’s awards ceremony, but Rock declined to press charges. The academy has said Smith refused to leave the ceremony after he punched the comedian.
Rock, meanwhile, has refrained from commenting too deeply on the slap. He told an audience at a comedy show in Boston earlier this week that he was “still processing what happened.”
One of Hollywood’s most bankable stars for decades, Smith made his name as the star of blockbusters like Independence Day and the Men in Black franchise. But he meddled in serious dramatic roles, like in Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, in what looked like a quest for Oscar glory. Now his long-awaited Oscar win will forever be linked to the most shocking moment in the show’s history.
Read Smith’s full statement:
I responded directly to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing and will fully accept any consequences for my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards were shocking, painful and inexcusable.
The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and family, everyone present and the global audience at home. I betrayed the Academy’s trust. I deprived other nominees and winners of the opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. My heart is broken. I want to bring the focus back to those who deserve recognition for their accomplishments and allow the Academy to go back to the incredible work they do to support creativity and artistry in film.
As such, I am resigning my 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 I never again allow violence to overtake reason.