FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2015 file photo, an Oscar statue appears outside the Dolby Theatre for the 87th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences laid out sweeping eligibility reforms to the best picture category intended to encourage diversity and equitable representation on and off screen beginning with the 96th Academy Awards. The announcement on Sept. 8, 2020, became a hotly debated topic on social media with some claiming it goes too far and others saying it doesn't go far enough. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

Oscars boss on Chris Rock’s scathing Netflix special

The Academy’s chief executive, Bill Kramer, has reacted to Chris Rock’s scathing comments in his recent Netflix special, in which he addressed the moment he was slapped by Will Smith at the Oscars.

Asked about the timing of the special’s release ahead of this Sunday’s Oscars ceremony, and whether it would put the incident back into public consciousness, Kramer told US outlet Deadline: “I think what’s important for us is that we’re moving forward.

“At the Nominees Luncheon… Janet Yang very clearly owned that we, as an Academy, have to be better prepared and have to be much more nimble and clear in our response to things.

“I really want to focus on that. I think it’s great that Chris spoke his truth. I can’t speak to the timing of that, but we are ready to move forward.”

Kramer previously said that a “crisis team” would be introduced at this year’s Oscars to mitigate “potential surprises” at the awards show.

Yang, who is president of the Academy has reportedly said it would now respond differently to how they dealt with Smith slapping comedian Rock.

As final preparations are made for the 95th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday 13 March, which will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the American film producer told Good Morning Britain that the Academy “would respond more swiftly in removing the person” should a similar incident happen this year.

She confirmed the Academy had “a team of people, we have security” on hand to defuse any issues this year, and backed the decision to ban Smith from the ceremony for the next 10 years.

At the 94th Academy Awards in 2022, Smith took the stage and smacked the comedian, after he made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

In his stand-up special Selective Outrage, which came out earlier this month, Rock spoke directly about the incident, calling Smith “a b****” and saying he had taken the hit “like [former boxer Manny] Pacquiao”.

He also accused Pinkett Smith of starting the feud between them, and said that she had hurt her husband “way more than he hurt me” by having an extramarital “entanglement” with rapper August Alsina.

The 95th Academy Awards is due to take place this Sunday on 12 March in Los Angeles.

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