Oscars boss reacts to Chris Rock’s scathing Netflix special

The Academy’s chief executive 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.

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 a extramarital “entanglement” with rapper August Alsina.

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.”

He added: “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.”

Chris Rock (Kirill Bichutsky/Netflix)
Chris Rock (Kirill Bichutsky/Netflix)

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

The 95th Academy Awards is due to take place this Sunday on 12 March in Los Angeles. Find the full list of nominees here.

Additional reporting by Press Association