The Academy Forms Oscar ‘Crisis Team’ After Will Smith Slap Fiasco? CEO Confirms “Have Many Plans In Place…”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Bill Kramer confirmed that the organisation has implemented a new “crisis team” for the upcoming 2023 Oscars in order to quickly navigate any potential real-time emergency.
He shared the details in an interview with Time magazine, reports ‘Variety’.
The creation of a crisis team is a response to the 2022 Oscars, where Will Smith walked on stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock across the face.
Academy president Janet Yang previously said the group’s response to the incident was not swift enough.
“We have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place,” Kramer said.
“We’ve run many scenarios. So it is our hope that we will be prepared for anything that we may not anticipate right now but that we’re planning for just in case it does happen.”
“Because of (the slap) last year, we’ve opened our minds to the many things that can happen at the Oscars,” Kramer continued.
“But these crisis plans — the crisis communication teams and structures we have in place — allow us to say this is the group that we have to gather very quickly. This is how we all come together. This is the spokesperson. This will be the statement. And obviously depending on the specifics of the crisis, and let’s hope something doesn’t happen and we never have to use these, but we already have frameworks in place that we can modify.”
Smith slapped Rock at the 2022 Oscars while the latter was presenting the best documentary feature category. Rock made a controversial joke about Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, which she shaved following an alopecia diagnosis.
The ceremony continued with Smith remaining in attendance as he won the best actor Oscar for his performance in ‘King Richard.’
The 2022 Oscars aired on March 27. Smith resigned from the Academy on April 1, writing 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 took several more days for the Academy to announce it was revoking Smith’s AMPAS membership and banning him from attending the Oscars ceremonies for 10 years.
Speaking at the 2023 Oscars nominees luncheon earlier this month, AMPAS president Janet Yang admitted the organisation dropped the ball by waiting too long to respond to the slap. It appears the new crisis team will react in as close to real-time as possible should any emergencies break out at the 2023 Oscars.
Smith apologised again for his actions in a July 2022 video post in which he revealed, “I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is he’s not ready to talk, and when he is, he will reach out.”
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