Will Smith Resigns From The Academy, After Confrontation With Chris Rock
Kuni .G. Isaac
Will Smith has resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, five days after his first Oscar win. The King Richard star, 53, faced suspension or expulsion for smacking Chris Rock, a stunning incident that overshadowed his big moment.
Chris made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith being in “G.I. Jane” because of her shaved head. Smith then took the stage to slap Rock. Although it appeared to be a joke at first, Smith returned to his seat and yelled at Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
“Jada, ‘GI Jane 2,’ I can’t wait to see it,” were rock’s words on stage at the Oscars. Pinkett Smitt was in attendance at the event.
“Wow, Will Smith just smacked the s–t out of me,” Rock said after he was slapped by Smith.
UNCENSORED WILL SMITH FOOTAGE AS SHOWN ON AUSTRALIAN TV pic.twitter.com/NcRfdjWxqe— David Mack (@davidmackau) March 28, 2022
Many in the Oscars audience appeared stunned at the confrontation. Diddy was the next presenter during the ceremony, where he appeared to introduce the 50th anniversary celebration to “The Godfather.” Diddy addressed the situation by saying, “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this like family. Right now we’re moving on with love. Everybody make some noise.”
https://fcce2d7352a43cc412c59f5484ab5505.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html Smith’s publicist Meredith O. Sullivan came by him at the commercial break to have a discussion. Also during the break, Denzel Washington got up to speak to Smith privately. Smith revealed during his best actor speech that Washington said to him, “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
Pinkett Smith announced last year she shaved her head after struggling with alopecia. The actor said in an Instagram post, “Now at this point, I can only laugh… y’all know I’ve been struggling with alopecia. Just all of a sudden, one day…it just showed up like that. Now, this is going to be a little bit more difficult for me to hide. So, I thought I’d just share it so y’all not asking any questions…Mama’s gonna have to take it down to the scalp so nobody thinks she got brain surgery or something. Me and this alopecia are going to be friends … period!”
“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. 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. I betrayed the trust of the Academy,” Smith said.
Smith added that he “deprived other nominees and winners” of their chance to celebrate, and said he will accept any further consequences from the Board.
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith said during his speech. He later apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees for his actions.
“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. So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate.”
“Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason,” Smith added.
“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,” David Rubin, president of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement.
During a Wednesday night show hosted by Rock, he said that he’s “still kind of processing what happened.”
“At some point I’ll talk about that s—, and it will be serious, and it will be funny,” Rock continued.
Rock ended up awarding the documentary Oscar to Questlove for “Summer of Soul.” Asked in the Oscars press room about Smith smacking Rock, Questlove said, “I’m not talking about that. This is about the Harlem cultural festival.”
Here’s a look at the history Rock shares with the Smith family, starting at the very beginning of Will and Jada’s relationship, and what led up to the viral slap.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett first met on the set of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” when she auditioned for a role on the show. She didn’t get the part but met her future husband — and Rock — in 1994.