Will Smith Resigns From The Academy, Prepares For Further Sanctions

Will Smith has resigned from the Academy amid fallout from his hitting comedian Chris Rock during last Sunday’s Oscars ceremony.

The comedian had made a rude joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, referencing her Alopecia – a medical condition she has spoken about severally.

This provoked the actor to get on the stage and hit him across the face with an open palm and then proceed to yell at Rock to refrain from mentioning his wife.

In a statement released Friday, Smith called his actions during the show ‘shocking, painful and inexcusable’

The actor acknowledged that slapping Rock during the ceremony caused other award winners to be overshadowed

He said he wanted to put the ‘focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements’ and allow the Academy to return to doing what it does.

Smith also said he was willing to accept any additional consequences issued by the Academy’s Board of Governors.

His resignation came two days after the Academy met to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violating the group’s standards of conduct.

The academy awards organizers have been called out severally since the incident, for their lackadaisical approach and for failing to do more than tweet about it.

Smith, who appeared remorse, issued his first apology moments after, when he was presented with the award for best actor, for his role as Richard Williams, father of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams, in the movie ‘King Richard’.

Since then, the actor has released apology after apology via social media and other platforms.

‘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. ‘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 shared how ‘change takes time’ and he is now ‘committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.’

The Academy said it has accepted Smith’s ‘immediate resignation’ and will ‘continue to move forward’ with its disciplinary proceedings against him for violations of the group’s standards of conduct.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences membership is available to qualified artists – ranging from actors, writers, production members, and more – working in the production of theatrically-released motion pictures.

The obtain membership, an artist must be sponsored by two Academy members from the branch to which the candidate seeks admission. There are 17 branches of the Academy.

Oscars nominees are automatically considered for Academy membership and do not require sponsors.

After being nominated or sponsored candidates are then reviewed by branch committees who will make recommendations for membership.

Those recommendations are then considered by the Academy’s Board of Governors, which ultimately decides who will receive an invitation to become a member.

Membership review occurs annually.

Smith’s shocking move comes just one day after sources close to the actor confirmed that he and his lawyers had planned to write to the Academy to plead his case ahead of his upcoming hearing on April 18.

‘Things are hanging in the balance. He will write an official letter to apologize, and effectively beg for their forgiveness,’ the source revealed Thursday.

‘He is also expected to hold a call with show bosses in the next 24 hours. April 18 is D-Day, though — he will find out if he still has an Oscar.’

‘Production executives and studio chiefs do not want to be seen picking a side too early,’ the insider said, noting that Smith was expected to return for a fourth installment of the Bad Boys franchise although no start date has been set yet.

News of the actor’s resignation also followed a Good Morning America interview with Oscars producer Will Packer aimed at making the organizers of the awards look proactive. Packer detailed, what he claims was the Academy’s immediate response to the attack.

Packer said that his co-producer Shayla Cowan informed him that Academy officials ‘were about to physically remove Will Smith. ’I had not been a part of those conversations, and so I immediately went to the Academy leadership that was on-site and I said, “Chris Rock does not want that. Rock has made it clear that he does not want to make a bad situation worse”,’ said Packer.

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