Will Smith Resigned From the Academy. Here’s What It Means

Chris Rock Will Smith

Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

It was the slap heard all around the world.

During this year’s Academy Awards (popularly known as the Oscars), Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada-Pinkett-Smith.  The actor also shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth!”

Smith later resigned from the Academy after a disciplinary hearing notice from the Academy. In a statement, he said, “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.”

He added, “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.”

But what does his resignation mean?

According to a report by Variety, this means that Smith is no longer a voting member of the Academy. A report by Vanity Fair revealed that the Academy Awards are voted on by the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. These are made up of industry professionals. As of March 21, 2022, there are more than 10,000 members with 9,500 of them eligible to vote.

However, Smith will still keep his Best Actor trophy for King Richard. He may still be invited to future ceremonies and be nominated for an award.

The slap

The incident began when Rock made a joke about Pinkett-Smith, who has alopecia. While presenting the award for best documentary, he said, “Jada, I love you, G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” Smith went up on stage, slapped Rock, and went back to his seat.

Minutes after, Smith won the Best Actor Award for his titular role in King Richard. During his speech, he said, “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world.”

In the same speech, he said, “I wanna apologize to the Academy and to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me it’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people, the entire cast and crew.”

Following the incident, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released a statement, saying, “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”

Smith also released an apology. He said, “I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”

Despite Smith’s resignation, Academy president David Rubin said they “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.”

Rock still has not spoken up about what happened. He talked about it on his comedy show Ego Death Tour. He said, “I don’t have a bunch of s*** about what happened, so if you came to hear that, I had like a whole show I wrote before this weekend. And I’m still kind of processing what happened, so at some point I’ll talk about that s***. And it’ll be serious and it’ll be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes.”

It’s not clear whether Rock knew Pinkett-Smith has alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.

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