Will Smith, facing possible expulsion or suspension after he assaulted Chris Rock during last Sunday’s Oscars telecast, has instead resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The move comes as the actor is embroiled in the gravest crisis of his career and as the organization behind the Academy Awards has struggled in its attempts to deal with the fallout from the altercation.
In a statement, Smith called his actions “shocking, painful and inexcusable” and said that he will accept any additional consequences that the Academy’s Board of Governors deems 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’s statement 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.”
Smith added: “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.”
The comedian, 57, who is currently starring in his “Ego Death” tour of the US, was greeted with a standing ovation by fans. Rock had earlier decided not to press criminal charges against Smith, reports say. Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, broke her silence in a brief Instagram post on Wednesday, writing: “This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.”