Will Smith said he “betrayed the Academy’s trust” when he resigned from the organization after his “shocking, painful and inexcusable” actions at the Oscars.
The 53-year-old actor said in a statement announcing his decision that he was “heartbroken” and would accept any consequences that would result from his scheduled disciplinary hearing.
It comes less than a week after the ceremony, during which Smith took the stage and slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.
Moments later, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in King Richard and delivered a tearful acceptance speech on the importance of protecting the family.
The academy said it had received his resignation and would pursue a disciplinary case against him, details of which will be discussed at a board meeting on March 18.
On Friday, Smith again apologized to his other nominees and winners for “depriving them of an opportunity to celebrate their achievements that night.”
“I responded directly to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing and will fully accept any consequences for my conduct,” he said in a statement.
“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards 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, everyone present and the global audience back home. I betrayed the Academy’s trust.
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“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.”
He added: “Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
A subsequent statement from Academy President David Rubin said: “We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“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.”
At the meeting, members of the Academy Board will discuss what disciplinary action will be taken.
Prior to his resignation, Hollywood trade house Variety reported that Smith met with academy executives on Tuesday to discuss his outburst and apologized to Rubin and executive director Dawn Hudson.
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 publicly apologized 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/will-smith-resigns-from-the-academy-following-his-inexcusable-oscars-behaviour-41513069.html Will Smith is resigning from the Academy after his ‘inexcusable’ Oscar behavior