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Will Smith resigns from the Academy, says he will accept additional consequences

Will Smith accepts the award for best actor in a leading role for "King Richard," minutes after slapping Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars.
Robyn Beck
/
AFP via Getty Images
Will Smith accepts the award for best actor in a leading role for "King Richard," minutes after slapping Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars.

According to press reports, actor Will Smith has resigned his membership from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, following his onstage outburst at the Oscars. Before accepting his Best Actor award for his role in the film King Richard, he walked up onstage and slapped comedian Chris Rock, who told a joke about Smith's wife's hair.

"I have directly responded to the Academy's disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct," Smith wrote in a statement. "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."

The statement continues, "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."

Smith wrote that he would accept any further consequences the Board of Governors deems appropriate. Earlier this week, the Academy said it would begin disciplinary proceedings that could include suspension or expulsion.

"Change takes time," he wrote, "and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.

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