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Will Smith resigned from the academy nearly a week after charging the stage at the 94th Academy Awards and slapping Chris Rock. The incident was televised. Still, there are several stories about what happened after the now infamous slap. So, let’s unravel what everyone claims took place. 

Why did Will Smith slap Chris Rock? 

Chris Rock was busy at the 94th Academy Awards making jokes when one of his insults didn’t land with Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock said, “Jada, can’t wait for G.I. Jane 2.” The joke reference Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. The Red Table Talk Host has alopecia, a medical condition that causes hair loss. 

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars
L-R: Chris Rock and Will Smith | Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images

After the joke, Pinkett Smith appeared annoyed, but Smith initially laughed. Moments later, he got up and calmly walked up on stage, slapped Rock, and then returned to his seat. TV audiences didn’t hear the exchange between the two after the fact because the production team cut the audio. 

Smith’s behavior was so bizarre and seemingly out of character that even the live audience initially believed the incident to be a skit. A few minutes later, Smith accepted an award, but the slapping incident was certainly not forgotten. 

Was Will Smith asked to leave the Academy Awards? 

Initially, it was suggested that Smith was not asked to leave the event following the slap. The show’s producer, Will Packer, appeared on Good Morning America following the awards show to discuss the situation. 

Packer said he advocated for Smith to stay because he thought that was what Chris Rock wanted. According to Packer, Rock, who spoke with the LAPD following the incident, declined to press charges and refused the offer to have Smith physically removed from the Dolby Theatre.

Following the ceremony, a spokesperson for the academy said Smith was asked to leave the theater, but refused to do so. According to a source that spoke to Deadline, Smith’s representative talked with academy members about Smith leaving. While Smith was approached with the suggestion, he asked to stay so he could make things right. He was allowed to stay. 

During his interview on Good Morning America, Packer went on to say that he had hoped Smith would use his acceptance speech to apologize directly to Rock for his behavior. Smith’s decision not to directly apologize during his speech led to backlash. He issued a public statement regarding the incident the following day. The academy was criticized for allowing the King Richard actor to remain at the ceremony and accept the award for Best Actor. 

Where does Will Smith stand with the academy now? 

While the events following the Will Smith slap remain a bit hazy, what is happening with Smith now is pretty clear. The famed actor has opted to resign from the academy. The decision came after the academy announced they would be launching an investigation, with disciplinary action, including expulsion, on the table. 

Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry talk to Will Smith after Smith charged the stage and slapped Chris Rock
Denzel Washington, Tyler Perry and Will Smith | Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Will Smith Resigns From Academy Membership Following Oscars Slap

A meeting by the Board of Governors found that Smith did violate the academy’s code of conduct. Still, the board did not reach a formal decision regarding potential disciplinary actions. Another meeting is planned.