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Will Smith Resigns from the Academy

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Less than a week after he slapped fellow actor Chris Rock during Sunday's Oscars ceremony, Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The resignation came two days after the Academy announced that it was beginning "disciplinary proceedings" against the actor. 


Adam Sabes of Fox News reported on a statement Smith's spokesperson sent out. 

"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," Smith said in the statement. "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." 

Smith had also issued an apology to Rock on Monday over Instagram. 


As the Academy indicated on Wednesday, action taken against Smith could have included "suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct." Smith had 15 days to submit a written response to the Academy, but he didn't take that long.

The Academy tweeted out a statement on Sunday night that "The Academy does not condone violence of any form," but has come under fire for not doing enough. 

It was also initially revealed on Wednesday that Smith was asked to leave the ceremony following the slap, but he refused to leave. "Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, [but] we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently," a statement from Wednesday referenced in part. 

However, TMZ reported on Thursday morning, citing "sources with direct knowledge who were present," that Smith had actually been told by Producer Will Packer he could stay. 


In a "Good Morning America" interview, Packer also revealed that the LAPD was "prepared" to arrest Smith, but that Rock was "dismissive" of the idea. Rock ultimately did not press charges. 

Rock appeared at his Wednesday comedy club tour spot in Boston, which received mixed reviews. He stuck to his original jokes and did not mention Smith by name, rather saying he was "still kind of processing what happened." During a Thursday show, also in Boston, he shut down a fan who yelled out "f*** Will Smith." 

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