The move comes less than a week after he slapped award presenter Chris Rock during the Oscars 2022 global broadcast on Sunday.
But does his abrupt resignation mean the Best Smacktor winner still could get slapped — even banned — by the Academy itself?
If so, he would join a small group of ex-members who previously were given the official boot from the starry group.
“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,” Smith said in a statement. “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. 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.
“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,” Smith continued. “Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
Following Smith’s viral “Hitch” slap at the 2022 Oscars on Sunday, the Best Actor was facing possible permanent expulsion from the Academy — whereupon he’d become the sixth figure ever to be banned from the Academy Awards.
According to Hollywood Reporter columnist Scott Feinberg, his resignation means he no longer has an Oscars vote; however, he reportedly can attend future ceremonies — and keep the Best Actor statue he nabbed at Sunday’s ceremony.
While there is no word yet on whether the Academy will take further action, the “upset and outraged” organization said earlier this week that it had launched a “formal review” on the incident and would “make a determination on appropriate action for Mr. Smith” — a process, the Academy said, would take a “few weeks.”
And on Friday, Academy President David Rubin indicated that the organization was still planning to continue its investigation.
“We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” he told The Post in a statement. “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.”
Smth’s potential blacklisting came to light as Oscar viewers speculated on possible punishments for the infamous incident, which occurred when Smith, 53, smacked Rock, 57, for making a bald joke about his actress wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, 50, who’s been open about her ongoing struggle with alopecia.
Despite the violent act, the “King Richard” actor seemed to duck any form of penalty in the immediate aftermath. Contrary to claims by the Academy, Smith was reportedly never asked to vacate the ceremony, nor did they allegedly ask slap recipient Rock if he wanted the “Fresh Prince” ejected.
Meanwhile, the Academy glossed over the attack in a Twitter statement: “The Academy does not condone violence of any form,” they wrote. “Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.” Compound that with Rock refusing to press charges, and it appeared as if Smith’s punishment amounted to a Best Actor Oscar and a standing ovation from his peers.
However, now that the stardust has settled, the Academy announced it has “initiated disciplinary proceedings” against Smith for violating its code of conduct, the Los Angeles Times reported. Formed in late 2017 following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the guidelines forbid “abusive or threatening behavior,” presumably including smacking the Oscars host over a joke.
They didn’t specify the thespian’s exact consequences. However, Smith could have faced anything from exclusion from events — which would cost him his 2023 Oscar nomination for his hotly tipped upcoming movie — to outright expulsion.
If Smith is indeed blacklisted by the Oscars, he’d join an exclusive fraternity of Oscar exiles:
The first person ever to get expelled by the Academy, “Godfather 2” actor Caridi was jettisoned in 2004 for disseminating copies of screeners annually mailed to Academy members, the Telegraph reported. He fell into the FBI’s crosshairs after getting tied to various bootlegs, including “Something’s Gotta Give,” “The Last Samurai,” “Mystic River,” “Big Fish” and “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.”
For at least three years, the mafia actor had reportedly given serial film pirate Russell Sprague copies of up to 60 flicks. Caridi was later granted immunity in exchange for the name of his contact, who police later arrested.
However, the actor claimed he had a valid reason for the crime: “How could a guy who was born on the Lower East Side of New York to immigrant parents and who became a successful actor not share these movies with my brother and sister?” Caridi said during a 2005 Los Angeles Times report.
The actor died in 2019.
Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was jettisoned from the academy in 2017 after over 80 women accused the 70-year-old Tinseltown producer of sexual assault. The board said it wanted to both “separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues” and also “send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behaviour and workplace harassment in our industry is over,” Yahoo News reported.
While undeniably severe, Weinstein’s defenestration perhaps pales in comparison to his 23-year prison sentence.
The man who allegedly inspired the #MeToo movement, “America’s Dad” was banished from the Academy after he was convicted in 2018 for drugging and sexually assaulting former basketballer Andrea Constand.
Despite getting sentenced to up to 10 years, Cosby, 84, has since been released from prison — and even had his conviction overturned. However, his Academy ex-communication appears permanent.
A former fixture at the Academy Awards, the “Pianist” director was blacklisted the same year as Cosby. It was reportedly delayed retribution for Polanski allegedly having unlawful intercourse with a minor back in 1977 when he was 43. The Holocaust survivor later fled to France, where he continued to make films.
The Academy was inspired to act against the 88-year-old Academy Award-winner due to pressure from the #MeToo movement spurred by Weinstein’s crimes.
The board stated that it had voted to expel “director Roman Polanski from its membership in accordance with the organisation’s Standards of Conduct,” per Yahoo News.
“The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity,” they added.
Following his exile, Polanski filed a lawsuit against the Academy, which he lost.
Much like Polanski, cinematographer Adam Kimmel managed to build a successful career despite his alleged pedophilia. The 62-year-old camera whiz worked on hits such as “Beautiful Girls,” “Capote” and “Never Let Me Go,” all while being a registered sex offender. The cinematographer was arrested and charged in 2003 and again in 2010 for sexual crimes against underage girls. After the first arrest, Kimmel pleaded guilty to third-degree rape.
Despite his well-documented record, Kimmel wasn’t given the boot from the Academy until 2021.
While Will Smith probably wouldn’t receive the same Academy Award scarlet letter, other potential punishments include revocation of Smith’s newly earned Oscar. Although Whoopi Goldberg, who’s on the board, said Tuesday on “The View” that they’re not going to “take that Oscar from him.”
A more likely punishment could be suspension or being banned, which would be voted on during the planned April 18 meeting.
“There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency,” states the group’s code of conduct.