Will Smith Resigns from the Academy After Chris Rock Slap

Will Smith Resigns from the Academy After Chris Rock Slap

Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences after slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars.

On Friday, the actor issued a statement in which he called his actions “shocking, painful, and inexcusable" and that he would also "accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate."

“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,” Smith continued, adding that he wanted 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."

"I am heartbroken," he said. “Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”

In response, Academy President David Rubin confirmed that the organization had "received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation" and will "continue to move forward with our disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct."

According to the New York Times, Smith's resignation means he will no longer be able to vote for the Oscars or attend academy events, though he can still be nominated for an award.

During the televised broadcast of the 94th Academy Awards last Sunday, Rock referenced Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia by calling her "G.I. Jane" while presenting the award for "Best Documentary." Smith then walked onstage to strike the comedian before going back to his seat and appearing to yell, "Keep my wife's name out your fucking mouth!"

Later, Smith went on to win the coveted "Best Actor" award for his role in King Richard as Venus and Serena Williams' father, saying that "love will make you do crazy things" in his acceptance speech. He also appeared to acknowledge the slap was a mistake, saying that "in this business you’ve got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile, and you've got to pretend like that’s OK."

However, Smith issued a direct apology to Rock the following afternoon, saying he was "embarrassed" of what happened and that his "actions were not indicative of the man I want to be."

"There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness," Smith wrote on Instagram. He also went on to apologize to "the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world," in addition to the Williams and King Richard families for "[staining] what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us."

Smith's apology came on the heels of the Academy condemning his behavior and launching a formal investigation into the matter. In a later statement, the group claimed Smith was asked to leave the ceremony but refused, though sources speaking to TMZ said that wasn't actually true.

Even so, Oscars producer Will Packer went on to tell Good Morning America that Rock didn't want Smith to be removed from the ceremony. He also declined to press charges against Smith, per the LAPD.

Photo via Getty / Paul Morigi / WireImage