It was a shock when actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife. What’s happened next is even more surprising.
Smith announced he’s resigning from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Friday, Fox News reported. The Oscar-winning actor cited the disciplinary action over the row and accepted responsibility.
“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct,” Smith said in a statement. “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable,” he added.
“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. I betrayed the trust of the Academy,” Smith said.
“Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason,” he added. Smith further lamented that his actions “deprived other nominees and winners” of their moment in the spotlight.
In response, Academy president David Rubin accepted Smith’s resignation and noted there will indeed be further discussion of disciplinary action. “We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” he said in a statement. Rubin said additional action could result from an April 18 meeting.
During Monday’s Academy Awards broadcast, Rock made a joke onstage about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia, being bald. Will Smith walked up to Rock and slapped him. “Keep my wife’s name out of your f—ing mouth,” Smith continued to yell after he sat back down.
This altercation in front of millions of people has had a ripple effect throughout the entertainment industry. Still, Smith was allowed to accept his Oscar that night for his part in “King Richard,” so it’s important that he face public consequences.