The slap-gate continues and with more consequences coming Will Smith’s way, like Academy resignation, by way of Will Smith himself.
Following Smith slapping Chris Rock while he was presenting on stage at last weekend’s Academy Awards, Will Smith announced in a statement on Friday (Apr 1) that he has resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.
The full statement reads:
“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. 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. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. 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. So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
His notice comes after The Academy’s announcement on Wednesday (Mar 30) that it had “initiated disciplinary proceedings” against Smith but before the Academy actually made any decisions. However upon the actors’ statement David Rubin, President, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said in a statement that the organization has received and accepted Smith’s “immediate resignation.”
“We 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,” Rubin added. Disciplinary actions by the Academy include suspension or expulsion, along with “other sanctions permitted by the Bylaws and Standards of Conduct,” the organization said.
But what does Will Smith’s Academy Resignation actually mean. According to People:
Now that Smith has resigned from the Academy, he will no longer enjoy the benefits that members are afforded, including access to screeners for films in consideration and the ability to vote for potential nominees. However, his invitation to attend future Academy Awards and related events remains to be seen once the Academy board reaches a decision later this month.
The academy’s code of conduct — which was majorly revised in 2017 in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and #MeToo movement — includes disciplinary measures that “may include private reprimand, public reprimand, temporary or permanent loss of privileges to attend and participate in Academy events or activities, temporary or permanent loss of eligibility to receive or hold or revocation of Academy awards or honors, temporary or permanent loss of eligibility to hold Academy service and volunteer roles, or other sanctions that the Academy in its sole discretion may deem appropriate.”
While the Academy has stipulated over this week that disciplinary proceedings against Smith will be laid out at the next scheduled board meeting on April 18 — and that he has a 15-day window to provide a written response — his resignation on Friday could conceivably mean that it will be up to him to decide whether or not he wants to come back in the future. However, his admittance back into the Academy will of course be at the discretion of its board of 54 members.