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Academy moves up Will Smith disciplinary hearing after actor's resignation

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Academy moves up Will Smith disciplinary hearing after actor's resignation
Will Smith (L) and Jada Pinkett Smith arrive for the 94th annual Academy Awards on March 27 at the Dolby Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 6 (UPI) -- The board of governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences moved up its disciplinary hearing for Will Smith on Wednesday.

The move comes on the heels of Smith's decision to resign from the academy last week for slapping comedian Chris Rock at the 94th annual Oscars.

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"I am calling a board meeting for this Friday morning, April 8, at 9:00 a.m. PDT, rather than the previously scheduled April 18 meeting, to address possible sanctions for Will Smith in response to his actions during the Oscars broadcast on March 27," Academy president David Rubin wrote in a letter.

"The April 18 date was set in accordance with California law and our standards of conduct because our agenda included possible suspension or expulsion of Mr. Smith from membership. We were required to provide Mr. Smith notice 15 days prior to the board meeting at which such action might be taken, and also give him the opportunity to provide the board a written statement no less than five days prior to that meeting."

In light of Smith resigning from the academy on Friday, "suspension or expulsion are no longer a possibility and the legally prescribed timetable no longer applies," according to the letter.

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"It is in the best interest of all involved for this to be handled in a timely fashion," Rubin wrote.

While presenting during this year's Oscars ceremony, Rock made a joke at the expense of Will Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia, an incurable autoimmune disorder that causes bald spots and hair loss.

Shortly later, Will Smith walked onto the stage, slapped Rock across the face with his right hand and returned to his seat, where he twice yelled, "Keep my wife's name out of your [expletive] mouth."

Later in the awards show, Smith accepted the best actor award for his role in King Richard. In his teary acceptance speech, he apologized to the academy and his fellow nominees, but never directly addressed Rock.

On March 28, Smith offered a public apology to Rock on Instagram. Rock, who declined to press charges, has yet to directly address Smith regarding the incident.

Winners of 2022 Oscars

Jessica Chastain, winner of Best Actress for "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," appears backstage with her Oscar. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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