Will Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a few days after hitting Chris Rock live on air at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 27.
“I have responded directly to the Academy’s notification of the disciplinary hearing and will fully accept any consequences of my behavior. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards Ceremony were shocking, painful and unforgivable. The list of those I have offended is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, everyone present and viewers from all over the world at home. I betrayed the Academy’s trust,” Smith, 53, said in a statement Friday, April 1, via Variety.
“I have deprived other nominees and winners of the opportunity to celebrate and become famous for their outstanding work. I’m heartbroken. I want to focus again on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to return to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in cinema,” he continued. “So, I am resigning my membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and will accept any further consequences that the Board deems appropriate.”
David Rubin, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, posted a response shortly after.
During the Oscars, Rock joked about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head while presenting the award for Best Documentary. 50-year-old Jada, who frankly admitted that she suffers from hair loss due to alopecia, rolled her eyes, mentioning her appearance.
Her husband, for his part, shocked the audience when he came on stage and gave Rock a slap in the face. When he returned to his seat, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum repeatedly repeated: “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
Later that night, Will recounted the incident when he received the award for Best Actor for his role in the movie “King Richard”.
“Oh man. Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” the Philadelphia native said during an emotional welcome speech. “In my life, I am called to love people, protect them and be a river for my people. I know that in order to do what we do, you need to be able to tolerate violence. You have to be able to make people talk crazy about you. In this business, you have to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you have to smile, you have to pretend that everything is fine.”
He added: “I want to apologize to the academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. …Thank you for this moment. And thank you on behalf of Richard and the entire Williams family. Thanks. I hope the academy will invite me back.”
Shortly after the award ceremony came to an end, a source exclusively informed us that Rock had originally rehearsed his speech without mentioning Jada. An insider noted, “Will wasn’t at the rehearsal.”
We also confirmed that the “Adult” star was not going to press charges after a public quarrel. “The Los Angeles Police investigative authorities are aware of an incident between two people during the Academy Awards ceremony,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement on Sunday. “During the incident, one person hit another. The detainee refused to write a statement to the police. If the interested party wants to receive a police report later, the LAPD will be ready to compile an investigation report.”
The South Carolina native, who has worked with Will and Jada on separate projects in the past, broke his silence on the scandal during a comedy show at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, March 30.
“What’s wrong, Boston?” he asked the audience. “How did you spend the weekend? I’m still thinking about what happened.” An eyewitness exclusively told Us that the audience “laughed a lot, and it really took the pressure off” for Rock, and it was “a great show.” The next night, he turned off a fan at the second show who was shouting “F-k Will Smith” from the audience. Rock reportedly replied “no, no, no, no, no” before continuing his set.