The actor, 53, who later that night went on to accept the best actor Oscar for his work in “King Richard,” announced in a statement sent by his reps to USA TODAY Friday that he will be withdrawing from the Academy due to his “ shocking, painful and inexcusable” actions.
“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 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 also said that he has responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice and “will fully accept any and all consequences.” He also noted that he would like 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.”
“Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason,” he added.
Smith’s statement comes days after the Academy announced the initiation of “disciplinary proceedings” against the actor for “inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior and compromising the integrity of the Academy.”
The Academy also said that Smith was asked to leave the Oscars after slapping Rock on stage and yelling expletives, but the actor refused. Smith’s actions came after Rock made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, which is due to alopecia.
After winning best actor, Smith gave a tearful speech on stage apologizing to the Academy.
“Things unfolded in a way we could not have anticipated,” the Academy’s statement read. “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.”
The Academy also condemned Smith’s actions as a “deeply shocking, traumatic event to witness in person and on television” and apologized to Rock.
As a result of Smith’s actions, the Academy has provided the actor with “15 days of a vote regarding his notice violations and sanctions, and the opportunity to be heard beforehand by means of a written response.” The Academy said it may decide to take other disciplinary action at its next board meeting April 18.
The organization considers “physical contact that is uninvited and, in the situation, inappropriate and unwelcome” as “unacceptable conduct,” according to the Academy’s Standard of Conduct.
“If any member is found by the Academy to have violated these standards or to have compromised the integrity of the Academy by their actions … the Academy may take any disciplinary action permitted by the Academy’s Bylaws, up to and including suspension of membership or expulsion from membership,” the document reads.
Other disciplinary action includes a public or private reprimand, temporary or permanent privilege to participate in Academy events, temporary or permanent loss of award eligibility and also possible revocation of an Academy award.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism