Will Smith resigns from Academy after Oscars slap

Myung Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Will Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday, five days after slapping Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars.

The move does not require him to surrender the best actor award he won Sunday for “King Richard.”

“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful and inexcusable,” Smith, 53, said in a statement.

“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.”

The Academy said Wednesday that it would initiate disciplinary proceedings against Smith. In his statement, Smith said he responded to the notice and would accept any further consequences.

The only people expelled from the organization in recent years were Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. Polanski and Weinstein, like Smith, are Academy Award winners, and got to keep their Oscars. Cosby never won one.

Smith’s resignation means he cannot vote on future Oscars along with the group’s 9,000 members. He also won’t be able to attend Academy screenings. However, he can still win the awards and attend the yearly show.

“We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” Academy President David Rubin said in a statement. “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 is not the first person to resign from the Academy this year. Two sound mixers, Tom Fleischman and Peter Kurland, resigned in protest in March after the Academy cut several categories from the television broadcast. Fleischman is an Oscar winner, while Kurland had been nominated multiple times.

In his statement, Smith said he would “accept any further consequences the (board of governors) deems appropriate.”

On Wednesday, the Academy said it asked Smith to leave the ceremony after he slapped Rock and that he could face “suspension, expulsion or other sanctions.”

However, board of governors member Whoopi Goldberg made it clear that Smith would not lose his newly won statue.

“We’re not going to take that Oscar from him,” Goldberg said Monday on “The View.” “There will be consequences, I’m sure.”

Smith is unlikely to face criminal charges for the incident. Rock, 57, made it clear that he didn’t want to press charges, according to Oscars producer Will Packer.

“They said we will go get him. We are prepared. We’re prepared to get him right now. You can press charges. We can arrest him,” Packer told “Good Morning America.”

“Chris was being very dismissive of those options, to the point where I said, ‘Rock, let them finish,’” Packer said. “The LAPD officers finished laying out what his options were and they said, ‘Would you like us to take any action?’ And he said no.”

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