A publicist for Chris Rock shot down reports that the comedian was rewriting his opening monologue for this year’s Oscars ceremony to address the ongoing controversy over racial diversity.
“Chris has made no decisions about the content of the show,” his publicist, Leslie Sloane, said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter on Monday.
The statement comes in response to an interview that Reginald Hudlin, producer of the upcoming Oscars broadcast, gave to Entertainment Tonight at Saturday’s NAACP Image Awards. “Chris is hard at work. He and his writing staff locked themselves in a room,” Hudlin said. “As things got a little provocative and exciting, he said, ‘I’m throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show.’ ”
Rock’s publicist said Monday: “Regarding Reggie Hudlin’s comments about Chris Rock’s Oscar hosting duties, neither he nor anyone else speaks for Chris.”
Rock is under intense scrutiny as the Oscars’ African-American host at a time when the awards ceremony is being blasted for its lack of African-American nominees. For the second year in a row, there are none in any of the acting categories. Films led by African-Americans, including “Concussion,” “Beasts of No Nation” and “Straight Outta Compton,” were omitted from the list of best picture nominees. In protest, Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith announced they would not attend the ceremony.
Aside from a Twitter post calling the Oscars “the White BET Awards,” Rock has remained silent on the controversy. “All will be revealed on February 28th,” said Sloane, referring to the date of the Oscars broadcast. “We will not comment further on this.”