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Will Smith news - live: ‘Heartbroken’ actor’s resignation from the Academy accepted by organisation

Best Actor winner resigns from Motion Picture Academy, saying list of those harmed by Oscars slap is “long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones”

Peony Hirwani
Sunday 03 April 2022 08:28 BST
Will Smith punches Chris Rock at the Oscars

Nearly a week after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, Hollywood is still abuzz with activity, as celebrities weigh in on the incident, while a “formal review” of the incident began at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Now they’ve got something new to talk about: the King Richard star has resigned from the Academy, which puts on the Oscars.

“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 said in a statement. “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.”

It’s the latest sign of friction between the Hollywood heavyweight and the film group.

Smith was reportedly asked to leave the Oscars after breaking the Academy’s code of conduct, but he refused.

Though Mr Rock has declined to press charges against Mr Smith, on Wednesday, during the sold-out Boston show of his Ego Death tour, Rock finally addressed the altercation and said he was “still processing.”

“I’m still processing what happened, so at some point I’ll talk about that s***,” the comedian also said on stage, adding, “It’ll be serious. It’ll be funny, but right now I’m going to tell some jokes.”

You can follow all the developments about the “slap that was heard around the world” in our live blog below...


Chris Rock did not want Will Smith to be ‘physically removed’ from the Oscars

Oscars producer Will Packer has revealed that Chris Rock did not want Will Smith to be “physically removed” from the ceremony.

During an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, the producer said he got to know that the Academy had planned to eject Smith after he slapped Rock on stage.

“I had not been a part of those conversations,” Packer said. “So, I immediately went to the Academy leadership that was on-site and I said, ‘Chris Rock doesn’t want that’.”

“I was advocating what Rock wanted at that time, which was not to physically remove Will Smith at that time, because, as it has now been explained to me, that was the only option at that point,” he said. “It has been explained to me that there was a conversation that I was not a part of to ask him to voluntarily leave.”

Peony Hirwani2 April 2022 07:30

What was the joke Chris Rock made about Will Smith’s wife Jada at the Oscars?

Chris Rock was onstage at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles to present the award for Best Documentary when he made a remark about Jada Pinkett Smith’s appearance.

“Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see you,” he quipped, appearing to refer to Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

GI Jane was a 1997 American drama film starring Demi Moore in a fictional story about the first woman to undergo special operations training, similar to the US Navy Seals. Moore, who won a Golden Raspberry award for Worst Actress for her performance, sported a shaved head for the movie.

Soon after Rock’s joke, Will Smith got up from his seat and slapped Rock, while yelling: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.”

Roisin O’Connor has the full story:

What was the joke Chris Rock made about Will Smith’s wife Jada?

Comedian looked visibly shocked as Smith told him to ‘keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth’ after the altercation

Peony Hirwani2 April 2022 08:00

In case you missed - Will Smith ‘made second apology’ during six-minute Zoom call with Oscar bosses

Will Smith reportedly called the Academy bosses over a video call earlier this week to express remorse over slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars.

The King Richard actor called the Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson and apologised for his actions during a “brief” Zoom call on Tuesday (29 March).

One source with direct knowledge of the meeting between Smith, Ruben, and Hudson told Variety the call lasted for roughly 30 minutes.

A separate report by Deadline, however, claims the Zoom meeting only lasted six minutes.

Over the call, Smith reportedly apologised for slapping Rock again and made it known that he understood his actions would have consequences.

Smith also allegedly tried to explain why Rock’s joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head prompted his response.

Maanya Sachdeva has the full story:

What Will Smith said during a call with Oscars bosses after hitting Chris Rock

Board members criticised Academy over ‘lack of transparency’ in how it has been dealing with fallout from onstage altercation

Peony Hirwani2 April 2022 08:30

Meme comparing actor Will Smith and Ketanji Brown Jackson’s husband has gone viral

A meme comparing Will Smith and Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s husband has gone viral amid the ongoing fallout from the weekend’s Oscars ceremony.

Taking aim at The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor on Thursday (31 March), Occupy Democrats appeared to reference both the Oscars fiasco and Republican hostility towards Ms Brown Jackson last week.

“This is how you support your wife when she’s attacked by insufferable fools,” the meme said, with Ms Brown Jackson pictured embracing her husband Patrick Jackson during her Supreme Court hearing last week. “No matter how badly you want to slap them”.

Ms Brown Jackson’s husband was pictured embracing his wife at the end of last week, which the meme pointed out was not comparable to Smith’s reaction. She is expected to be confirmed when the Senate votes.

Gino Spocchia has the full story:

Comparison between Will Smith and KBJ’s husband goes viral

‘This is how you support your wife’

Peony Hirwani2 April 2022 09:00

WATCH – New footage shows Jada Pinkett Smith’s reaction to Oscars slap moment

Footage of Jada Pinkett Smith reacting to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars has emerged online.

Footage seemingly filmed on a mobile phone, shared on TikTok, shows the viewpoint of somebody sat behind the Smiths, who were on the front row.

While Pinkett Smith’s facial expressions can’t be seen, she can be seen hunching forward in laughter at Rock’s response.

When her husband begins shouting next to her, she remains fixed in an upright position, but seems to laugh when Rock, composing himself, attempts to brush the moment off.

Jacob Stolworthy has the full story:

Footage shows Jada Pinkett Smith’s reaction as Chris Rock responds to Will Smith slap

Pinkett Smith watched on as her husband hit the comedian on stage

Peony Hirwani2 April 2022 09:59

What Will Smith’s Academy resignation means for his future at the Oscars

Will Smith has resigned from the Academy after slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars – but what does that mean for the actor?

Firstly, Smith will get to keep his Best Actor Oscar, which he won for King Richard in the aftermath of hitting Rock. He apologised to the Academy during a tearful acceptance speech.

The resignation also won’t keep Smith from attending future Oscar ceremonies, meaning that the actor could return in 2023 to present Best Actress. Traditionally, the previous year’s acting winners all return to announce who will replace them as the latest recipients of the top awards.

Should Smith deliver another performance that Academy members believe is worthy of Oscar contention, they will still be able to nominate him, meaning Smith can win more Oscars.

All the resignation means for Smith is that he will have no say in what films can be nominated or will go onto win in the future.

Jacob Stolworthy has the full story:

What Will Smith’s Academy resignation means for actor’s Oscars future

Will actor get to keep his Oscar, be nominated again or attend future ceremonies?

Peony Hirwani2 April 2022 11:00

List of stars who have been expelled from the Academy in the past

In the 94-year history of the Oscars, five celebrities have been expelled by the Academy.

Ellie Harrison has the full story:

All the stars who have been expelled from the Academy

The list includes Carmine Caridi, Harvey Weinstein, and Roman Polanski among others

Peony Hirwani2 April 2022 12:00

Read Will Smith’s full resignation statement to the Academy

Will Smith has sent a resignation letter to the Academy, stripping him of his membership to the Oscars awards body.

On Friday (1 April), five days after slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 ceremony on stage, Smith made the decision to step down following reports he would face disciplinary action.

The actor was set to find out what Academy board members, including Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Spielberg and Laura Dern, had decided on 18 April.

Academy president David Rubin accepted Smith’s resignation, but said: “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.”

Smith announced he would resign in a new statement, leaving many to wonder what this meant for the actor’s future at the Oscars.

Read Smith’s full resignation statement below:

Read ‘heartbroken’ Will Smith’s Academy resignation letter in full

‘The list of those I have hurt is long,’ Smith wrote

Peony Hirwani2 April 2022 13:00

Other celebrities who resigned from The Academy this year

As early as last month, Oscar-nominated sound mixer Peter Kurland and Oscar-winning recording mixer Tom Fleischman also resigned from The Academy due to the organisation’s new plan to exclude their respective categories from the live telecast of the awards.

Peony Hirwani2 April 2022 14:00

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