Will Smith has issued a statement this evening, announcing that he’s resigning from The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences. “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 in his statement, referencing the incident on Sunday night during which he walked onto the Oscars stage and slapped Chris Rock in the midst of the awards show’s broadcast.
The ripples from that single moment of anger have formed a sort of Rorschach test in the following week, as everyone on the planet (except Daniel Radcliffe) seemed to feel inexorably moved to offer an opinion about what it said about Hollywood, the public perception of Black men, comedy, violence, and more. Among other things, the Academy itself has moved to take disciplinary action against Smith, even as debate rages about how the organization handled the moment—down to apparent open arguments between producers and other organizers about whether Smith was asked to leave the ceremony in the aftermath of the slap.
In his statement today, though, Smith was blunt in his self-assessment: “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable… 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.” Framing his decision to resign from the Academy, Smith continued, “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. change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
So far, the Academy hasn’t responded; we’d be shocked if this didn’t serve as the end of, at least, calls for Smith’s recent Best Actor win to be revoked.
Smith slapped Rock roughly halfway through the broadcast on Sunday night, after the comedian made a joke at the expense of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Update: Dave Rubin, president of the AMPAS, has now issued a statement. “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.”