Actor Will Smith resigned on Friday from the Motion Picture Academy following his Oscars night slap of Chris Rock and said he would accept any further punishment the organization imposed. Will, in a statement, said he will "fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct." My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. "
"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," read his statement.
"Change takes time, and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason," Will concluded in the statement.
Film academy president David Rubin said Will's resignation was accepted. "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."
Will loses voting privileges with his resignation. But there are other, less tangible benefits to being part of the academy, Hollywood's most prestigious organization: It bestows industry credibility on its members. It's invitation-only, with a once-a-year membership review.
The resignation came two days after the academy's leadership board met to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Will for violations of the group’s standards of conduct. Those proceedings could have resulted in suspension or expulsion, and it was not immediately clear what additional punishment he could face.
Had he been expelled, Will would have joined a small group of men removed from the academy: Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby, and the actor Carmine Caridi, who was kicked out for sharing award screeners.
On Sunday, Will strode from his front-row Dolby Theatre seat onto the stage and smacked Chris, who had made a joke at the expense of Will's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Moments later, he went on to win the best actor award for his role in King Richard.