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What does Will Smith's resignation from The Academy mean? Consequences explained as actor says he is heartbroken in official statement

Will Smith has decided to resign from The Academy after slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars (Image via P. Lehman/Getty Images and Myung Chun/Getty Images)
Will Smith has decided to resign from The Academy after slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars (Image via P. Lehman/Getty Images and Myung Chun/Getty Images)

Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The decision comes after he slapped Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Academy Awards for making a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

The actor opened up about his decision to The Hollywood Reporter, stating that his actions at the Oscars ceremony were “inexcusable.” He also acknowledged the people who have been affected by his behavior on the show:

“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.”
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The King Richard star also confessed that he was “heartbroken” for betraying the trust of the Academy and depriving other nominees and winners of their celebratory moments:

“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 added:

“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.”

The latest decision comes after the Academy claimed that Smith refused to leave the Oscars ceremony after the slapping incident. The organization said it has started “disciplinary proceedings” against the actor’s behavior.


What happens now that Will Smith has resigned from The Academy?

Will Smith said he was ready to face the consequences decided by the board against his actions (Image via Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Will Smith said he was ready to face the consequences decided by the board against his actions (Image via Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Will Smith has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2001. However, he has decided to resign from the organization in light of his infamous slapping incident at the 2022 Oscars.

Speaking to Deadline about his resignation, Smith said he is ready to face all consequences from the board in response to his actions against Chris Rock:

“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.”

Smith’s resignation would no longer allow him to vote for the Oscars. However, he will still be eligible to be nominated for the Academy Awards and will be allowed to attend ceremonies in the future.

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He will also be allowed to keep his Best Actor Oscars statue, the award he won for his role in King Richard.

However, the ongoing review and disciplinary proceedings by the Academy will continue until the next board meeting scheduled for April 18.

The Academy also issued an official statement about Will Smith’s latest decision and accepted his resignation:

“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.”

Meanwhile, Variety reported that SAG-AFTRA has also decided to review Smith’s actions at the Oscars ceremony to ensure that the situation is addressed in a proper manner:

“We have been in contact with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC about this incident and will work to ensure this behavior is appropriately addressed. SAG-AFTRA does not comment on any pending member disciplinary process.”

In addition to his resignation, Smith also apologized to Rock in a public statement. The latter did not respond to the apology but told the audience at his recent Boston show that he was “still processing” the incident.

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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