Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars

Will Smith Resigns From Academy Amid Pending Investigation

Will Smith announced that he is resigning from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after slapping presenter Chris Rock during the Oscars last week. The shocking moment came after Rock insulted Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith with a nasty joke about her shaved head. Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss. It was a deeply controversial moment made all the more bizarre when Smith collected his Best Actor Oscar moments later in the show to a standing ovation.

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In response, the Academy announced that they would be opening an investigation into Smith’s conduct at the ceremony. Yesterday, Smith announced his resignation in a written statement, which read “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,” Smith said. “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.” Smith added that he “will fully accept any and all consequences” from the Academy.

The resignation means that Smith is no longer a member of the Academy and can no longer vote on the Oscars. However, he can still be nominated and can still attend the awards show in the future. He can also keep the Oscar he won for his role in King Richard. Still, the Academy’s investigation will continue.

“We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” said Academy president David Rubin. “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.”

The Slap Heard Round the World has inspired a deluge of hot takes and think pieces from across the world, with many actors, pundits, and celebrities weighing in on the controversy. As for the future of Smith’s career, Netflix has moved Smith’s next feature, Fast and Loose, to the back burner. As for Rock, the comedian addressed the slap during a comedy show in Boston, saying “I’m still kind of processing what happened. … So at some point I’ll talk about that shit. And it’ll be serious, and it’ll be funny.”

(via THR, image: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.