By: Mohnish Singh
Ahead of the 95th Academy Awards, the organisers have a new “crisis team” in place.
The creation of the crisis team is a response to the 2022 Oscars, where Will Smith infamously walked on stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock.
Academy president Janet Yang previously said the group’s response to the incident was not swift enough, Variety reported.
Speaking to Time magazine, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chief Kramer said, “we have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place. 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.”
He added, ‘Because of last year, we’ve opened our minds to the many things that can happen at the Oscars. 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 Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, which she shaved following an alopecia diagnosis. After the slap, Smith returned to his seat and repeatedly screamed at Rock.
The Academy, which would take flak over its perceived lack of immediate action, issued a statement later that night saying it “does not condone violence in any form,” and Smith apologised the next day. Smith even resigned from the Academy.
Oscars 2023 is scheduled to take place on March 12.