The Oscars have a “crisis team” after the slap of Will Smith

The Oscars have a “crisis team” after the slap of Will Smith

The Oscars have a "crisis team" after the slap of Will Smith

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Last year’s Oscars featured perhaps the most infamous moment in the Oscars’ long history: Will Smith bursts on stage to slap Chris Rock. The shocking incident was apparently a wake-up call for the Academy, which will set up a “crisis team” at this year’s show to respond more quickly in case anything, anything, goes wrong. .

“We have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and lots of plans in place,” Bill Kramer, CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), said at the Time magazine in a recent interview. “Because of the last year, we’ve opened our minds to the many things that can happen at the Oscars.”

Kramer, who was named the Academy’s CEO in July, said the crisis team includes communications professionals and unspecified executives he hopes “we never have to use.”

The Oscars have struggled to attract the gargantuan viewership they once had – 2021 was a record high – but last year’s slap was as viral a moment as television can produce. After Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia, her husband, Will Smith, stormed the stage, slapped the comedian and yelled “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth .”

Smith, who won the Best Actor Oscar last year for his role in King Richard, was then banned by the Academy from attending the Oscars or other related events and programs for 10 years.

“What happened on stage was totally unacceptable and our organization’s response was inadequate,” AMPAS president Janet Yang said in February. “We have learned from this that the Academy must be completely transparent and accountable in our actions, and especially in times of crisis, you must act quickly, compassionately and decisively for ourselves and our industry. You do not should and can expect nothing less from us in the future.”

After a muted four months, Smith apologized to Rock, Rock’s mother and the other nominees in a video posted in July to his Facebook and Instagram pages. “I reached out to Chris, and the message that came back was that he’s not ready to talk. And when he is, he’ll reach out,” Smith said in the video. “So let me tell you, Chris, I apologize… My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”

Rock, for his part, has spoken about the incident on various stand-up shows over the past year. Last July, Rock referenced the slap when he told a crowd that “anyone who says ‘words hurt’ hasn’t been punched in the face.” The following month, he said during a set that he turned down an invitation to host the 2023 Oscarsalthough it was probably a little.

“As an institution, we need to act quickly and with compassion and engage with our members and our candidates in a very transparent way,” Kramer told Time. “We could have moved quicker. And I’m not just talking about the night of the show. It’s really our response after the show, and how we talked about it, and how we talked to Will and Chris, and our hosts and our members It was a time to really bring people together.


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