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The Oscars Will Now Have a Crisis Team Because of Will Smith Slap

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have added a new "crisis team" ahead of the forthcoming 2023 Academy Awards.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are taking preventative measures to avoid another slapdown. In a new interview with TIME, Academy CEO Bill Kramer talked implementing a new "crisis team" for the 2023 Academy Awards. Last year, Best Actor Oscar winner Will Smith slapped presenter and comedian Chris Rock for making a reference to Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head. After the 2022 awards ceremony, the Emancipation star was banned from the Oscars and other Academy events for ten years.

“We have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place,” Kramer told TIME. “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.”

After the slap during the 2022 Oscars, Smith returned to his seat where he shouted expletives at Rock. The actor remained in attendance, tearfully winning Best Oscar for his performance in King Richard.

“Because of [the slap] last year, we’ve opened our minds to the many things that can happen at the Oscars,” Kramer continued. “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 has since apologized several times for the 2022 Oscars incident, even extending an invitation to talk with Rock in a video posted to social media last July.