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Will Smith Resigns from The Academy Following Incident at the Oscars

Following this year’s Oscars awards ceremony in which actor Will Smith walked onto the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock after the comedian joked about Smiths wife Jada Pinkett Smith, fans and the Academy have been working through potential consequences during the incident’s fallout. With Will Smith up for a potential suspension or even expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for his actions at the event, the actor has instead decided to resign.

Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock in the Face

Will Smith slapping Chris Rock in the face Credit: ABC

Fans took to social media while the ‘slap‘ incident was live sharing thoughts on the incident and the way it was handled by The Academy, which later led to Will Smith releasing a statement and an apology to Chris Rock. In Smith’s apology, he stated, “My behavior [at last night’s Academy Awards] was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.”

Smith continued on to say,  “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness. I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress.”

Will Smith

Credit: CNN

Amid discussions following the now infamous Oscars night slap incident, Smith shared the news that he would accept any consequences from The Academy that might come his way as a result of his actions on Oscar Night, however, with his resignation it is unclear what exactly those consequences might have entailed.

Smith’s full resignation statement as shared from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences with CNN reads:

“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. 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.”

Credit: The New Yorker, Photograph by Blaine Ohigashi / A.M.P.A.S

What exactly does resigning from The Academy entail? With his resignation official, Smith can still be considered for awards from his future projects, however, he loses the ability to vote on Oscar nominations going forward. At the 94th Academy Awards, Smith received the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role award for his work in King Richard.

Many fans, as well as filmmakers, actors, and those in attendance at the event agree that disciplinary action should have been taken for the actor’s action, where regardless of Rock’s comments during his mention of Smith’s wife, physical assault is not acceptable under any circumstances. And of course, for fans watching from home, many have noted that the situation would have been handled differently immediately after the incident had it not been done by a celebrity.

We will keep you updated here on Disney Fanatic if additional details become available regarding Will Smith’s resignation from the Academy.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."

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