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Oscars 2023: Academy hires crisis team 1 year after ‘Slap’ — here’s what that means

Will Smith hits Chris Rock on stage during the 94th Academy Awards on March 27, 2022. (Photo: Reuters)

The Oscars are two days away, and while Hollywood is excited to celebrate the industry’s biggest night, it’s hard not to talk about award shows without mentioning “The Slap.” When Will Smith hit Chris Rock onstage last year, it was not only one of the most shocking moments in Oscars history, it was also one of the most shocking moments to ever happen on live television.

Bill Kramer, CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, recently revealed that for the first time, a “crisis team” has been put in place to deal with other potentially surprising moments. The organization was widely criticized for its handling of the incident as Smith, who won his first Oscar, was allowed to remain on the show after attacking the comedian.

“We’ve run several scenarios,” Kramer explained. Time, “So it’s our hope that we’ll be prepared for anything that we can’t anticipate right now but we’re planning for when it happens.”

Kramer said they brought Jimmy Kimmel back to host for a third time, because if something goes wrong, the late-night veteran can “really pivot and manage those moments.”

in an interview with Rolling stoneKimmel said he sympathizes with the show’s producers because it’s hard to prepare for such a shocking moment.

“I don’t think it’s something anyone could imagine. I had this thought in my mind: I’m hosting these live award shows, and there’s very little security as far as the stage goes. Someone Anyone who’s in that building can walk right up on stage. I almost hesitate to say this because I don’t want to encourage people to do it, but there are going to be some dingbats in a room full of 3,500 people, and the fact It’s that it hasn’t happened that surprises me all the more,” Kimmel declared. “They were saying they ‘ran through a bunch of scenarios’ and were ‘prepared for everything,’ and I would have loved to have been in that meeting because I can’t imagine what those scenarios were.”

Well, Yahoo Entertainment spoke with two crisis PR experts who shed light on what the Academy is preparing for. Here’s what you need to know.

What exactly is a crisis team?

“A specialized crisis team is responsible for preparing an organization for a major incident that could endanger the organization itself, its reputation, its stakeholders and/or the general public,” Ron TorosianFounder and President of 5wpr, telling. “PR professionals play a vital role in crisis communication.”

Eric SchifferPresident of Reputation Management Consultantsays: “A crisis team prevents and manages incidents to avoid everything, from gross stupidity to shocking acts, and how to recover and preserve images of shows and celebrities and ensure that negative press effectively. This team’s job is to plan for all scenarios, then take action if something goes awry.”

What are the advantages of having a crisis team on hand over something as high-profile as the Oscars?

Torosyan says that having an agile team will help the academy adapt to conditions in real time.

“In today’s world, where live broadcast events are taking place at the venue as they are in real-time conversation on social media, (a crisis team) will be able to respond to a story, manage and mitigate . ,” he shares. “Organizations no longer have the luxury of managing conversations before news hits the next day, so they need a team that can work in the moment, while producers and event attendees stay focused on getting the show going on keeping.”

What eventualities can the Academy prepare for this year?

According to Schiffer, the Academy is possibly preparing for “everything from controversial speeches, wardrobe malfunctions, and even the remote chance of a different version of ‘The Slap’.”

“The Academy was unaware of Will Smith’s actions in real time, and criticism rained down on the organization’s delayed response and inaction. This year, the Academy is dead determined that the Oscars will not make the same silly mistakes,” he says.

Torosian believes that “The Slap” was a “once-in-a-lifetime crisis”. While he feels that the Academy’s announcement of a crisis PR team may be “a bit demonstrative”, “businesses and organizations as prestigious as the Academy should have” crisis communication and media plans, especially given the current scenario”. If something happened again.

If something like last year’s event happens, what will the strategy look like in real time?

“They need to act fast to remove any person or persons from the stage and camera while gathering all the facts before making a timely and authentic statement,” Schiffer explains. “A victory is getting through the event with brand prestige and not in the septic sludge of the chaos of the crisis.”

Will the crisis team need to act on Sunday? Watch the Oscars on ABC at 5 p.m. PT.



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