Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The announcement comes less than a week after the actor walked onstage and struck Chris Rock across the face, minutes before Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor (King Richard).
“We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith's immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences," Academy President Dave Rubin wrote in a statement to The FADER. Despite Smith's resignation, the Academy says it "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 called his behavior "shocking, painful and inexcusable” in a statement obtained by Variety. “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,” he wrote. “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," Smith continued, "and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film... change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
The incident took place during Sunday's ceremony as Chris Rock was presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature. Rock made a joke directed at Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett, that poked fun at her lack of hair – Pinkett suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. Smith stormed the stage, slapped Rock, and returned to his seat, demanding that Rock "keep my wife's name out your f–ing mouth."
Smith's statement announcing his resignation is his second of the week. On Monday, he apologized to Rock, "the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world." Joseph Patel, one of the producers of the Best Documentary Oscar-winning film Summer of Soul, criticized Smith for the slapping incident and Rock for remarks made when he announced Summer of Soul as a film produced by "Ahmir Thompson (Questlove) and four white guys.” Patel, a former FADER employee, is of South Asian decent.