Will Smith Resigns from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Just as disciplinary proceedings were beginning regarding Will Smith‘s actions at the Academy Awards, the actor has decided to resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This will preclude Smith from voting as a member of the Academy, though he will still be eligible for nominations. Both parties put forth their own statements surrounding the matter.
Smith had been expected to face suspension or expulsion from the Academy as a result of his actions. Of course, as is well-documented by this point, Smith struck Chris Rock on the stage of the Dolby Theater as the comedian was presenting the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her appearance as a side effect of alopecia. It was rumored that Smith was asked to leave after striking Rock, though the Academy revealed that there was never a formal ask made to have him depart the ceremony.
Smith said the following in a statement announcing his resignation:
“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. 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. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am 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. 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.”
In a response, the Academy put out the following statement:
“We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 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.”
Per the Academy’s statement, it’s unclear what will result from their board meeting. Smith is clearly remorseful for what he did, and his acknowledgement of the awkwardness that this caused, namely for the winners, is admirable. This is the second apology Smith has delivered, as he apologized to Rock and others via social media last Monday.