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Will Smith resigns from the Academy: ‘I am heartbroken’

Newsman: The Oscar winning actor Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences due to described in his own words “shocking, painful and inexcusable” actions. Smith’s announcement of resignation comes days after the Academy announced the initiation of “disciplinary proceedings” against the actor for “inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior and compromising the integrity of the Academy.” Will Smith, 53 slapped comedians Chris Rock onstage at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony. Smith’s actions came after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, which is due to alopecia.

After winning best actor and accepting the Oscar later that night for his work in “King Richard, Smith gave a tearful speech on stage apologizing to the Academy.

Will Smith said that he has responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice and “will fully accept any and all consequences.” He also noted that he would like 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.” 

Will Smith, announcing his resignation in a statement sent by his reps on Friday to USA TODAY that he will be withdrawing from the Academy due to his “shocking, painful and inexcusable” actions.

“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 continued. “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.”

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

Academy president David Rubin confirmed USA TODAY on Friday,  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. The Academy also said that Smith was asked to leave the Oscars after slapping Rock on stage and yelling expletives, but the actor refused.

“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the Academy’s statement read. “While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.”

The Academy also condemned Smith’s actions as a “deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in person and on television” and apologized to Rock.

As a result of Smith’s actions, the Academy has provided the actor with “15 days notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response.” The Academy said it may decide to take other disciplinary action at its next board meeting April 18.

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