Will Smith announced his resignation as a member of the institution that awards the Oscars, after slapping comedian Chris Rock during Sunday’s ceremony, according to a statement released on Friday, April 1.
“I am resigning my membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept whatever consequences the board deems appropriate,” the actor wrote in the text published by Variety magazine.
“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful and inexcusable.”
“The list of those I hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, everyone in attendance and global audiences at home,” the statement read.
Those in attendance at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, were left gasping when Smith took the stage and slapped Rock after he made a joke about his wife’s shaved head.
Jada Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia, a disease that causes hair loss.
“I betrayed the Academy’s trust. I deprived other nominees and winners of their chance to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken,” confessed Smith, the fifth black man to win the Oscar for best actor.
“I want to return the spotlight to those who deserve the attention for their accomplishments and allow the Academy to return to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film,” he said.
It might interest you: Los Grammy: ¿Qué podemos esperar de la premiación?
Chris Rock’s Professionalism
In a letter to all Academy members, the directors said they were “outraged” by the incident, regretting that the event was “overshadowed by the unacceptable and aggressive onstage behavior of a nominee.”
The board has initiated disciplinary proceedings against Will Smith.
It must now meet on April 18 to rule on the case and decide on possible sanctions against the actor, who will have at least 15 days to offer a written argument.
Among the sanctions provided for by the internal rules of the Hollywood Academy were suspension or expulsion from the institution, which has about 10,000 members.
Some voices were raised to demand that Smith be stripped of his Oscar, which was presented to him shortly after the incident, but others pointed out that neither Harvey Weinstein, the former producer convicted of rape and sexual assault, nor director Roman Polanski had been forced to return his statuette after being expelled from the Academy.
Oscar night producer Will Packer praised Chris Rock’s demeanor and professionalism, which he said saved Oscar night.
“It was because Chris handled the moment with grace and poise that the show was able to go on,” he told ABC News on Friday.
After being slapped as he began his Oscar presentation for best documentary and amid widespread bewilderment, Rock managed to quickly pick up the thread, handing over the statuette accordingly.
He subsequently declined to file a complaint against Smith, which spared the actor from being detained by police for his behavior.
That “gave us license in a way to go on with the show, which is what we were trying to do,” the producer said.
Chris Rock first spoke about the incident Wednesday night, shortly after taking the stage for a solo show in Boston.
“I’m still processing what happened. At some point I’ll talk about that shit. And it will be serious and funny,” he noted.
It might interest you: