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Will Smith resigns from Academy, days after slapping Chris Rock at Oscars

He described his slap of Chris Rock during the ceremony as “shocking, painful and inexcusable.”
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Will Smith on Friday resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, almost a week after slapping comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars ceremony.

Smith, who won the best actor award for “King Richard" after the stunning on-stage assault, had faced disciplinary action and possible expulsion by the academy.

“I betrayed the trust of the Academy," Smith wrote in his statement. "I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken."

The actor said he was prepared to accept any consequences the organization deems appropriate.

Academy President David Rubin said Friday the group had accepted the resignation and was planning to move forward with its disciplinary proceedings.

Smith's resignation was reported earlier Friday by Variety.

Smith loses voting privileges with his resignation from the invitation-only organization.

“My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful and inexcusable," Smith said. “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 walked on stage at Sunday’s ceremony and slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Rock said he was looking forward to seeing Pinkett Smith in “G.I. Jane 2.”

In 2018, Pinkett Smith revealed that she had been diagnosed with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss. The film “G.I. Jane” stars Demi Moore as a woman who shaves her head during military service.

Rock declined to press charges, the Los Angeles Police Department has said.

Smith on Monday on Instagram apologized to Rock, writing “I was out of line and I was wrong.” He said that he was embarrassed and that violence is never acceptable.

The academy’s board of governors said Wednesday it had initiated disciplinary proceedings against Smith, which could include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions.

Had he been expelled, Smith would have joined a small group of men removed from the academy: Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and the actor Carmine Caridi, who was kicked out for sharing awards screeners.

Any actor can be nominated and win an Oscar but only Academy members can vote on the awards.

Members vote for nominations in their categories, and everyone can vote on Best Picture, and they also vote for winners, according to the Academy’s website.