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Academy moves up board meeting to discuss Will Smith’s actions in a ‘timely fashion’

The decision to hold the disciplinary meeting earlier comes after Smith voluntarily resigned from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Academy Board of Governors is meeting earlier than originally planned to discuss Will Smith's actions at the 94th Academy Awards last month.

The meeting, rescheduled from April 18 to this Friday, April 8, will decide what possible consequences Smith may suffer for slapping presenter Chris Rock after the comedian told a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, during the live telecast of the ceremony on March 27.

In a letter obtained by NBC News, Academy president David Rubin said he decided to make the meeting a week earlier after Smith voluntarily resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that runs the Oscars, last week.

"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," Rubin wrote in the letter. "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.

 "Following Mr. Smith’s resignation of his Academy membership on Friday, April 1, suspension or expulsion are no longer a possibility and the legally prescribed timetable no longer applies," he continued.

Will Smith
Will Smith accepts the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for "King Richard" onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022.Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images

Rubin concluded the letter by expressing his wishes that the Academy Board of Governors deal with the issue, which has garnered global publicity, as soon as possible.

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

Rubin’s letter comes a little more than a week after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences told NBC News in a statement that they officially condemn Smith's behavior at the Oscars. The academy also revealed it was beginning a "formal review" of the incident.

The academy's standards of conduct expressly forbid members from participating in “intimidation, stalking, abusive or threatening behavior, or bullying.”

During the Oscars telecast, comedian Rock made a joke onstage regarding Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. The "Red Table Talk" host has been candid about her struggle with alopecia and hair loss in recent years.

Seated beside his wife in the audience, Smith at first appeared to laugh at the joke, but soon rose and approached the stage, where he slapped Rock across the face. Smith returned to his seat and yelled at Rock to "Keep my wife's name out of your f------ mouth."

Less than an hour later, Smith received the award for best actor for his performance in "King Richard."

In his resignation letter to the academy days later, the former "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" star said that he was “heartbroken" over the incident and "will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate.”

Smith added 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.”