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Will Smith resigns: Star announces he is leaving the Academy after Chris Rock slap

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Will Smith has resigned from the Academy, admitting his onstage outburst at Chris Rock was “shocking, painful and inexcusable”.

Days after winning his first Oscar, Will Smith has announced his resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

It comes amid a formal review of the actor’s shocking onstage outburst on Monday, during which he stormed the stage and slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

All eyes have been on the King Richard star following the stunning incident, with mixed reports emerging that he was allegedly asked to leave the ceremony following the slap, but refused.

In a puzzling twist, he went on to win best actor and receive a standing ovation. While he addressed the violent display in his speech, he fell short of apologising to Rock until the next day.

On Thursday, the Academy gave Smith “15 days’ notice of a vote regarding his violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response”.

Today, he wrote on Instagram that he would “fully accept any and all consequences” for his conduct, but was “resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences” ahead of the next meeting on April 18.

He said he would accept any additional penalties the board deemed appropriate.

“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 his statement.

“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.”

Smith also acknowledged his actions overshadowed other winners at the 94th Academy Awards, a sentiment which has been echoed for much of this week by those present on the night.

“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,” he wrote.

“Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason,” the I Am Legend actor wrote.

More to come.



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