Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage during the Oscars ceremony last Sunday.
His statement added, “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony were startling, hurtful, and unacceptable.”
The Academy said it accepted the resignation and that disciplinary processes would “go forward.”
Smith struck Rock for making a joke about his wife’s shaved head, which is due to alopecia, a hair-loss disorder.
He won the best actor prize for his performance as the father of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams in “King Richard” less than an hour later.
Smith said on Friday, “The list of persons I have injured is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my personal friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global viewers at home.”
“I betrayed the Academy’s trust. I took away the opportunity for other nominees and winners to celebrate and be recognized for their outstanding efforts. I’m devastated.”
The actor stated that he wished to “return the spotlight to those who have earned it via their accomplishments.”
He closed by saying, “Change takes time, and I am dedicated to completing the work necessary to guarantee that violence never again triumphs over reason in my life.”
Academy President David Rubin announced that Smith’s resignation had been accepted, but that the organization will continue its disciplinary actions.
In an appearance at a stand-up event in Boston on Wednesday, Rock addressed the incident, saying he was “still kind of processing what occurred.”
The comedian, who is currently on tour in the United States as part of his “Ego Death” show, was greeted with a standing ovation by his audience.
It has been reported that Rock had already chosen not to file criminal charges against Smith in the case.
“This is a season for healing, and I’m here for it,” Pinkett-Smith wrote in a brief Instagram message on Wednesday, in which she acknowledged Smith’s death and expressed her support for him.
The decision to resign from the Academy is significant. Membership in this famous, invitation-only organization is regarded as a significant achievement in and of itself.
In the history of the academy, only a handful of people have been expelled, among them Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Roman Polanski – although it was not immediately obvious whether Will Smith would face the same fate. He would have discovered the truth in a matter of weeks.
However, the actor has decided to cement his own fate – and hence forfeit his prestigious position as an Oscar voter – by announcing his resignation now. Even while his mea culpa is forcefully phrased, it isn’t the conclusion of the narrative.
It is possible that he will be removed of the Oscar he received on Sunday, although this appears doubtful, or that he will be barred from participating in future Academy Awards ceremonies, according to the Academy, which says its disciplinary investigations will continue.
However, Hollywood is a forgiving place, and Smith is a figure who has previously been well-liked. Perhaps his next leading role will be in a film opposite Oprah Winfrey, which would explain everything.