Amid whispers he was facing expulsion from the Academy for slapping Chris Rock at 94th Academy Awards, Will Smith has instead chosen to resign.

Smith said in a statement, via his representative, sent to PEOPLE, “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.”

He added, “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.”

He then concluded by resigning from Academy: “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.”

The Academy confirms disciplinary proceedings against Will Smith
Photo: Getty Images

In case you live under the world’s largest rock and missed it, the drama began earlier this week when an altercation between Chris Rock and Will Smith broke out at the Oscars as Will Smith took to the stage after Jada showed her disappointment in Chris Rock’s words.

The event saw host Chris Rock joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, well-publicized battle with alopecia. Rock quipped that he “couldn’t wait” to see the sequel of G.I Jane, seemingly referencing her hair loss.

While the cameras showed Smith laughing about the joke, Pinkett Smith could be seen in the background rolling her eyes and looking unhappy.

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The camera then panned back to Rock and he continued his monologue. Seconds later, Rock pauses to say, “Uh oh” and confused sounds can be heard coming from the crowd.

Smith then walked straight up to the host in the middle of the stage and hit him in the face. Rock was left almost speechless in surprise, and repeated the words “Wow”, as Smith headed back to his seat.

Once back in his seat Smith continued his tirade, yelling “Get my wife’s name out of your mouth” a number of times to a very stunned crowd.

Jada Pinkett first revealed her diagnosis of alopecia in 2018 and chose to shave all of her hair off with the help of her daughter in 2021.

Smith has since apologised to Rock for the wild incident, writing in part in an Instagram post, “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. 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.”

On Monday, the Academy said in an initial statement, “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.”

Rock briefly spoke out on the incident during a show at The Wilbur in Boston Wednesday night, telling the audience, “I’m still processing what happened.”

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