The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says it has accepted Will Smith’s “immediate resignation” from the organization and will “continue to pursue its disciplinary process” against him.
The actor said he was “heartbroken” and would accept any consequences that would result from his scheduled hearing in a statement announcing his decision.
His statement also said he had “betrayed the trust” of the academy and “deprived his fellow nominees and winners of the opportunity to celebrate their achievements that evening.”
“We have received and accepted the immediate resignation of Mr. Will Smith from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” Academy President David Rubin said in a subsequent statement shared with the PA news agency.
“We will continue our disciplinary process against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s standards of conduct before our next scheduled board meeting on April 18.”
Smith, 53, won Best Actor for King Richard but stormed onto the stage before his win after responding to a joke by Chris Rock that referred to his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
The formal review will take place on April 18, when the Academy Board of Directors will meet to discuss what disciplinary action will be taken.
“I responded directly to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing and will fully accept any consequences for my conduct,” Smith’s statement said.
“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards were shocking, painful and inexcusable.
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“The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, everyone present and the global audience back home. I betrayed the Academy’s trust.
“I deprived other nominees and winners of the opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. My heart is broken.
“I want to bring the focus back to those who deserve recognition for their accomplishments and allow the Academy to go back to the incredible work they do to support creativity and artistry in film.
“As such, I resign my membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and will accept any further consequences that the board deems appropriate.
“Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
Prior to his resignation, Hollywood trading house Variety reported that Smith met with academy executives on Tuesday to discuss his outburst and apologized to executive director Dawn Hudson and Rubin.
Showrunner Will Packer also told Good Morning America that the actor called him the morning after the ceremony to apologize for the incident.
Packer also said he initially thought the incident was something Rock and Smith planned together.
He said: “I thought that was part of something Chris and Will were doing on their own, I thought it was a little bit … like everyone else I knew we hadn’t practiced it.
“I wasn’t worried at all (when Smith went on stage). I was like, OK, he’s going to say something or come up to him, something funny is going to happen, because that’s the nature of Chris and that’s the nature of Will, so let’s see what happens.
“When I saw Will yelling at him like that in a hateful way on stage, my heart sank and I just remember thinking, ‘Oh no, not like that.'”
He also revealed that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) was “prepared” to arrest Smith after the incident, and Rock said he was the victim of “battery.”
The comedian was “very dismissive” of the options LAPD officials gave him and “didn’t want to make a bad situation worse,” Packer told the US show.
He said: “Shayla (Cowan, co-producer) told me that they were going to physically remove Will Smith and I did not participate in those talks.
“So I immediately went to the Academy leadership, who was there, and said, ‘Chris Rock doesn’t want that.’
“I said, ‘Rock has made it clear that he doesn’t want to make a bad situation worse.’ That was Chris’ energy. His tone was non-retaliatory. His tone wasn’t angry.
“So I endorsed what Rock wanted at the time, which was not physically removing Will Smith at the time. Because, as I was now explained, that was the only option at the time.
“I was explained that there was a conversation I was not involved in to ask him to leave voluntarily.”
Smith issued a public apology to Rock Online after the incident, saying “violence in all its forms is toxic and destructive” and Pinkett Smith called for a “season of healing”.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/academy-accepts-smiths-immediate-resignation-ahead-of-disciplinary-hearing-41513034.html Academy accepts Smith’s “immediate resignation” ahead of disciplinary hearing