Will Smith said Friday night that he will resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, days after he slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars.
Smith’s resignation comes just days after the academy said a formal review of the altercation was underway, with the organization saying Wednesday that it had “initiated disciplinary proceedings” that may result in suspension, expulsion, or other sanctions under its bylaws and standards of conduct.
The question now is whether that disciplinary action from AMPAS — the governing body behind the Academy Awards — will include rescinding Smith’s Best Actor Oscar, which he won Sunday for King Richard, and what Smith’s resignation means for his future involvement with the organization.
What Does it Mean to Resign from The Academy?
Now that Smith has resigned from the Academy, he will no longer enjoy the benefits that members are afforded, including access to screeners for films in consideration and the ability to vote for potential nominees. However, his invitation to attend future Academy Awards and related events remains to be seen once the Academy board reaches a decision later this month.
The academy’s code of conduct — which was majorly revised in 2017 in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and #MeToo movement — includes disciplinary measures that “may include private reprimand, public reprimand, temporary or permanent loss of privileges to attend and participate in Academy events or activities, temporary or permanent loss of eligibility to receive or hold or revocation of Academy awards or honors, temporary or permanent loss of eligibility to hold Academy service and volunteer roles, or other sanctions that the Academy in its sole discretion may deem appropriate.”
The only time the Academy has ever rescinded a statuette was for the 1967 documentary Young Americans, which it retroactively found had been released too early to be eligible for the Oscars in 1969.
While Weinstein and Roman Polanski have been ejected from the Academy due to their respective sexual abuse scandals, both men still have their Oscars, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“It is kind of crazy to think that this one incident could wipe away so many decades of goodwill,” says The Wrap editor-in-chief Sharon Waxman.
This makes it highly unlikely that Smith will lose his trophy, even though it was awarded shortly after his onstage attack of Rock.
“But it was so public, it was so outside of the box. One agent we talked to called it a ‘stunning act of narcissism’. The movie star brand for Will Smith is badly tarnished.”
Her website has published an article asking film industry insiders if Smith’s career is “mortally wounded”.
“The conclusion is, yeah,” Waxman says. “‘Mortally wounded’ is a quote, that’s what one of the agents we talked to called it, and said he’s kind of done as an A-list movie star.