What Will Packer, who made history producing this year’s Oscars, has said about Smith hitting Rock

Mildred Europa Taylor March 29, 2022
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 27: In this handout photo provided by A.M.P.A.S., Oscars producer Will Packer is seen backstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Al Seib /A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)

On Sunday night, movie and television producer Will Packer made history when he led the first all-Black production team in Oscars history. Besides assembling an all-Black production team in a move toward bringing inclusion into the awards show, Packer also made some changes by bringing in three funny women — Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes — to host.

Many would have wished that the 94th Oscars would have focused more on Packer’s history-making moment than on Will Smith hitting Chris Rock. It was a painful moment for the Oscars 2022 winner.

People, including celebrities, reacted with shock after Smith slapped Rock on stage at the Oscars. Comedian Rock was on stage to present the award for best documentary feature when he made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss, which is due to alopecia. Rock said, “Jada, can’t wait for GI Jane 2.” Smith walked up on stage and hit Rock before going back to his seat and shouting: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth.”

Smith later apologized during his best actor acceptance speech. After the incident, Packer did not officially comment but tweeted: “Welp … I said it wouldn’t be boring #Oscars.”

He was called out for that tweet and so he came back to social media on Monday morning to respond.

“Black people have a defiant spirit of laughter when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it. I don’t feel the need to elucidate that for you,” Packer tweeted. “But I also don’t mind being transparent and say that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels.”

Millions of people who watched the onstage slap during the Oscars Sunday night have described it as one of the craziest situations at the Oscars probably since 2017 when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced “La La Land” as the best picture winner when it was supposed to be “Moonlight”.

The Academy Awards ratings have been going down for years now due to several factors including Covid-19. The 2021 Oscars brought in about only 10.4 million total viewers, down 56 percent from the previous ceremony. This year’s ceremony also came with its own controversies and perhaps the Academy could do with a viral moment. It did get one but surely not the one it wanted. After the jaw-dropping moment, the Academy said it “does not condone violence of any form”.

Days before the awards show, Packer spoke to Tampa Bay Times about what it means to be leading an all-Black production team.

“I’m someone who always believes ‘I can show you better than I can tell you.’ I’m proud of ours being the first all-Black team but I don’t feel the need to talk about it inordinately. I’d rather show the world what we can do and then after the fact we can talk about how great the result was that this particular team produced. There is no doubt our skill sets and perspectives are allowing us to create a show that will be different than that of our predecessors.”

Packer is the founder and CEO of his own film production company called Will Packer Productions and a television, digital, and branded content company known as Will Packer Media. The Emmy-nominated producer is behind many movies such as Girls Trip, Little, Breaking In, Think Like a Man, Ride Along, The Photograph, Straight Outta Compton, What Men Want, and others.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 29, 2022


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