The news is in: Will Smith has quit the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS).
On Wednesday, following an onstage assault of comedian Chris Rock via the “slap heard ’round the world,” the Academy began disciplinary proceedings against the actor.
Per a statement released after a board of governors meeting, he was in violation of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct — “including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior, and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”
Hence, the star was facing possible suspension or expulsion.
AMPAS also noted it hadn’t dealt perfectly with the incident when it occurred:
Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated. While we would like to clarify that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and refused, we also recognize we could have handled the situation differently.
It was certainly unexpected. Will took on the character of a man who’s having a dream and knows it: Because he’s the only real person, there is no such thing as consequence.
To whatever degree the analogy applies, he’s now awakened to regret.
In a written withdrawal obtained by Variety Friday, the Oscar winner made that clear.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
More on taking attention from others:
“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.”
Furthermore, he noted that “change takes time.”
“[I] am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
Concerning the Academy asking him to leave, it seems there are conflicting accounts.
[S]ources [say] the organization’s leaders never formally requested he be ejected and producer Will Packer urged him to stay. During an appearance on [Good Morning America]…Packer said that he said Smith should stay at the request of Rock — something Rock’s camp has denied.
However it happened, the rapper-turned-movie-star went on to accept the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Richard Williams in the film King Richard.
As for Hollywood King Will, for now, it seems he’s taking the position no higher than a fresh prince — one who’s no longer a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Will he again be? I believe he Will.
In the meantime, the New York Post reports his resignation won’t affect the Academy’s review.
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