Will Smith has reportedly elected to resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, amid the fallout of him slapping Chris Rock during the 2022 Academy Awards. Reports about the actor's decision first began to surface on Friday evening, confirming that the decision was made in the face of potential expulsion or suspension from the organization. The moment, which culminated in Smith walking onstage and slapping Rock in the face, occurred after Rock made a joke about the haircut of Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, which is a result of her years-long battle with the autoimmune disease alopecia. Smith confirmed the news in a statement, which you can check out below.
"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."
Across the week, it had been reported that Academy leaders met with Smith via Zoom to discuss the fallout, and that the actor had "expressed his awareness" of the repercussions to the incident. According to a new interview with Oscars producer Will Packer, Smith was not removed from the ceremony after Rock made it clear that he didn't "want to make a bad situation worse." Smith won the Best Actor award later that night for his performance in King Richard.
Smith took to social media earlier this week to issue a formal apology to Rock, as well as to the Academy as a whole.
"Violence in all of its form is poisonous and destructive," Smith wrote in his post. "My behavior at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally. 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," Smith continued. "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."