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Will Smith resigns from the Academy after Chris Rock slap

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Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, five days after his first Oscar win. The King Richard star, 53, faced suspension or expulsion for smacking Chris Rock, a stunning incident that overshadowed his big moment.

In a new statement on Friday, Smith apologized once again to Rock and called his actions “painful and inexcusable.” He said he will accept any other consequences that the Academy’s Board of Governors deems fit, which could include stripping his Oscar.

Will Smith poses with his Oscar at the Vanity Fair Oscar party after hitting Chris Rock.
Will Smith poses with his Oscar at the Vanity Fair Oscar party after hitting Chris Rock. (Photo: Reuters)

“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,” Smith tells Yahoo Entertainment, via his rep.

“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,” he continues.

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“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 concludes. “Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”

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Smith added that he has “directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice,” and “will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct.”

On Tuesday, Smith initiated a virtual six-minute call with Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson to apologize for the incident. The next day, the Academy’s Board of Governors met to begin disciplinary proceedings. The organization announced suspension and expulsion was on the table.

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The Academy’s board will meet on April 15 to determine additional consequences.

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