Anyone who didn’t see or later run into Will Smith’s slap at Chris Rock must be living on the moon. The newly awarded actor did his best to make the Oscar’s relevant, if not infamous. Although the embarrassing performance divided the audience at the moment of shock, Smith’s behaviour was increasingly seen as unacceptable after the event, with his colleague Jim Carrey calling it stomach-churning that the Oscar audience gave Smith a standing ovation for Best Actor in a Leading Role after the slap. And what are the possible consequences? As well as the possibility of the actor being ostracised from the industry, and certainly punished, Chris Rock’s career could be boosted by the incident: in the two days following the gala, twenty-five times as many tickets were sold for his stand-up performances as on a normal day. And the ticket price of 46 USD quickly climbed to 341! Scandal has a huge impact on business, but the effect is not always positive!
When the reboot of Sex and the City premiered last year, the first episode ended with Mr Big having a heart attack and being helped to the afterlife by a Peloton bike. It was just enough to send the company’s shares plummeting 11.3% overnight. In a separate statement to Insider, a cardiologist and a member of Peloton’s Health and Wellness Advisory Board tried to salvage the situation.
Also in December, Better.com CEO Vishal Garg fired no fewer than 900 people in a three-minute Zoom video in a fit of pique, which of course turned into a major scandal. The people still working at the company received another letter, but this time they were not invited to a Zoom meeting, but were informed that the CEO was leaving the mortgage lending start-up, just as he himself had told his staff a week ago: with immediate effect. The company, by the way, has been growing and progressing steadily even in the difficult years of the covid, and despite the group layoff, the plan was to start organizing a stock market listing at a valuation of 7 billion USD… but that fell through.
Social media giant Facebook is not without its scandals! Now let’s talk about 2021! Their former employee, data scientist Sophie Zhang, was dismissed from the company after repeatedly calling attention to Facebook’s failure to prevent attempts to interfere in elections in Honduras and other countries. The importance of the hearing is growing as the online safety bill would impose heavy fines on tech companies for failing to take action against illegal or harmful content.
Former product manager Francis Hauger said afterwards that while the tech giant was aware of the obvious harm that Instagram was causing to some teenagers, it was not taking sufficient action to tackle it. Unfortunately, misinformation and online hate speech is a daily occurrence that Facebook and its platforms fail to manage and that bombards democracy from time to time.