Will Smith ‘is “resigning” from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts Sciences after smacking Chris Rock.
Smith — who struck Rock for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaven head across the face less than an hour before he picked up his Best Actor statuette for his role in ‘King Richard’ at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony — has now resigned from the Academy following backlash.
In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the 53-year-old actor said: “I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. 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.”
The Bad Boys star — whose wife Jada, 50, suffers from hair-loss condition alopecia — went on to claim that through his actions he has “betrayed the trust of the Academy” and will “accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate” following his resignation but noted that he is “committed” to changing his ways.
The statement continued: “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. 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. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
Responding to Smith’s resignation, Academy president David Rubin said in a statement, “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.”
Smith’s resignation came hours after Oscars show producer Will Packer’s interview with Good Morning America on Friday (Apr 1), where he revealed that he thought Smith hitting Rock, 57, was part of a sketch until Rock came backstage and confirmed he had really been hit.
“Once I saw Will yelling at the stage with such vitriol, my heart dropped. And I just remember thinking, ‘Oh no, no. Not like this,” said Packer, 47. “Chris was keeping his head when everyone else was losing theirs.”
Packer added that it was Rock who insisted he was fine and refused to press charges when approached by the LAPD.
Watch Packer’s Good Morning America interview here:
— BANG SHOWBIZ
Photo: TPG News/Click Photos