(CMR) Will Smith resigned his membership from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars on Sunday.
Smith, who faced possible expulsion or suspension from the Academy, said in a statement that he was “heartbroken” over the incident and that he “betrayed the trust of the Academy.”
“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 said in a statement Friday.
“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,” the actor added.
Smith's resignation came roughly 12 hours after Will Packer, the lead producer of the Oscars telecast, spoke publicly about the episode for the first time during an interview with Good Morning America” on ABC.
He said there were discussions of plans to “physically remove” Smith from the venue, but he immediately approached academy officials and told them that he believed Chris Rock did not want to “make a bad situation worse.” He also urged them not to remove Smith during a live broadcast.
The Academy's Board of Governors has started disciplinary procedures against Smith over the incident.
“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.”
In resigning, Smith said he wanted 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.”
“Change takes time, and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason,” he continued.
President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, David Rubin, said, “We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith's immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 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.”
Smith went onto the stage at the 94th Academy Awards Sunday night and slapped Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith's hair.