'Heartbroken' Will Smith Quits From Academy
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Will Smith has resigned from The Academy amid the controversy surrounding him slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars.
The star took to the stage after Rock made a 'G.I. Jane 2' joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, referencing her hair. He walked up to the comedian, smacked him in the face, and warned him to 'keep [his] wife's name out [his] f***ing mouth'.
In the moment, Rock referred to it as the 'greatest night in the history of television'. It's since become one of the biggest stories of the year, and perhaps the most shocking moment in Oscars history.
Shortly after the slap, Smith won his first-ever Oscar for his performance in King Richard. He acknowledged the incident, but also cited Richard Williams being a 'fierce defender of his family', and only issued his apology to the Academy and his 'fellow nominees'.
The next day, he posted a public apology to Rock on Instagram. Meanwhile, the Academy formally condemned the slap, also apologised to Rock and claimed Smith was asked to leave but refused, however other sources have denied this.
Prior to any disciplinary action being taken against Smith, he's now resigned from the Academy.
In a lengthy statement, as per The Hollywood Reporter, he 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.
"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."
Concluding, he wrote: "Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason."
David Rubin, president of the Academy, said it had accepted Smith's resignation but would still be looking at disciplinary action.
In a statement, he said: "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."
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