After what should have been the greatest night of his career, Will Smith has taken a major step that may negative impact his career.
On Friday, the veteran star resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
He did so days after winning Best Actor at the 2022 Oscars, a victory marred by Smith slapping Chris Rock in the face after the comedian made a joke on stage about Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct,” Smith said in a statement.
“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation 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 loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home.
“I betrayed the trust of the Academy.”
Smith didn’t apologize to Rock upon winning his first-ever Best Actor trophy.
He did issue a lengthy mea culpa about 24 hours later, though, saying “I’m a work in progress” while acknowledging how far out of line he was in smacking Rock.
On Wednesday, meanwhile, the Academy said it asked Smith to leave the ceremony… but he refused.
The group also said:
“The Board of Governors today initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”
In his response on Friday, Smith sounded prepared for whatever punishment may be coming his way.
“I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken,” he said.
“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.”
Concluding, he announced his departure from the Academy as follows:
“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.”
Following Smith’s resignation, David Rubin, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, also issued a statement.
“We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” he said.
“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.”
For his part, Chris Rock has said next to nothing about what happened.
During a show at The Wilbur in Boston Wednesday night, however, he told the audience, “I’m still processing what happened.”
He added that he would likely talk about what transpired at some point in a serious manner, according to someine in the crowd — but that he had written a whole show full of jokes for that night’s performance.