Oscars 2023 Will Address the Controversy Surrounding Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock

A producer of the Oscars 2023 has shared details on how they plan to handle the incident where Will Smith infamously slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 ceremony.

The incident occurred after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head, which was due to her alopecia diagnosis. Despite the outburst, Smith went on to receive the Best Actor award and used his acceptance speech to express regret for his behavior towards the Academy and fellow nominees. Smith also issued a public apology to Rock via social media the following day.

Oscars 2023 Will Address the Will Smith Slap Controversy, Here’s How
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

According to Variety, Molly McNearney, the executive producer of the Oscars, announced at a press conference that the upcoming awards ceremony will acknowledge Will Smith’s slap incident in a humorous manner, but it will not be the central focus of the show.

McNearney suggested that while they could make jokes about the incident, the Academy does not want the 2023 Oscars to revolve entirely around the controversy of the previous year.

However, it would be challenging to overlook the slap incident in this year’s Oscars presentation, especially since Will Smith resigned from the Academy due to the incident.

Read McNearney’s statement below –

We’re going to acknowledge it, and then we’re gonna move on. We don’t want to make this year about last year. It’s certainly something we can and will address in a comedic fashion.

Molly McNearney

Although the Academy intends to briefly address the slap, the Oscars’ creative team has acknowledged that significant changes had to be made to this year’s ceremony due to the incident.

Will Smith, who won Best Actor in 2022, would usually be presenting the award to the 2023 recipient. However, since Smith is no longer part of the Academy and has been banned from the Oscars for 10 years, this will not be possible.

As a result, the team had to come up with innovative solutions, and showrunner Ricky Kirshner has said that “we’ve had to rethink the show and find presenters that fit the categories.”

Oscars 2023 Will Address the Will Smith Slap Controversy, Here’s How
The Academy Awards

The Smith-Rock slap has not only altered the presenter lineup for the 2023 Oscars but also impacted how the live-television event will be managed. According to Kirshner, due to the incident, the Oscars now has a complete crisis team responsible for responding to any unforeseen events during the live broadcast.

Kirshner expressed hope that the crisis team would not be needed, but he believes that having one in place is crucial for handling any crises professionally and efficiently.

While the Smith-Rock slap is not the first unexpected occurrence to happen during a major live television event, but it has had a significant impact on how viewers perceive the show moving forward.

Fortunately, the Academy is now better equipped to manage unforeseen incidents, such as the slap, with the crisis team in place. Although the approach of joking about the incident is still to be tested, the fact that the Oscars will publicly acknowledge it is a step in the right direction.

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

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