As Will Smith faced possible expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for his assault on Chris Rock during the 94th Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday (March 27), the King Richard actor announced on Friday (April 1) that he is voluntarily resigning from the Academy.
As reported by Variety, Smith described his actions in a statement as “shocking, painful and inexcusable” and said he accepts any additional consequences that may come his way as a result of him slapping Chris Rock in the face on Sunday.
“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.”
He added, “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,” he stated, concluding with “change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
Smith’s resignation comes after he charged the stage and assaulted comedian Chris Rock for referring to Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith as “G.I. Jane,” likening her shaved head to the Demi Moore character from the 1997 film. Jada had been open about her recent struggle with alopecia, and the joke set off her husband, who followed the slap by demanding Chris rock keep “his wife’s name” out of his “fucking mouth.”
During the first night of his Ego Death World Tour, Chris Rock said he was still processing the assault.
“How was your weekend?” he asked the crowd after walking on stage, as reported by Variety. “I don’t have a bunch of shit about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I have a whole show I wrote before this weekend. I’m still kind of processing what happened. So at some point, I’ll talk about that shit. And it will be serious and funny.”
Revisit the slap below.