Will Smith resigns from the Academy: what are the reasons?
The 53-year-old stormed the stage to attack the comedian at the 94th Academy Awards last Sunday and has now left AMPAS as it considers further punishment.
Actor Will Smith has announced his decision to resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) after assaulting Oscars presenter Chris Rock last Sunday.
Related: Will Smith into rehab
Smith picked up the first Academy Award of his lengthy career last weekend but his achievement was overshadowed by the incident earlier in the evening, when he stormed the stage in response to a joke at the expense of his wife Jada.
In a statement, Smith described his actions as “shocking, painful and inexcusable” and said that he will accept whatever additional punishments are decided by the Academy’s Board of Governors.
“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 wrote. “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.”
Smith issues apology to Rock
He did not immediately apologise to Rock after striking the comedian, waiting until Monday to issue a formal apology. His decision to resign comes as the Academy continues to investigate the incident after a week of speculation about the appropriateness of awarding Smith the Oscar.
Smith said: “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.”
Academy president David Rubin confirmed that Smith had left AMPAS, saying: “We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.”
However despite the actor’s admission of fault and resignation from the Academy, he is not necessarily protected from further consequences. Reports have emerged in recent days that Smith was actually asked to leave the ceremony last Sunday but that the 53-year-old refused to do so.
Having then won the award for Best Actor he then attended the Vanity Fair Oscars after party, a decision that also drew criticism from members of the Academy.
For now Smith’s fate is still undecided. In his statement, Rubin said that the Academy 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.”