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Oscar producer standing by Chris Rock

Cates denies report Academy wants comedian out as host
/ Source: The Associated Press

The producer of the Oscars said Monday he was not concerned by comments from comedian and first-time host Chris Rock that belittled the event.

“Chris’ comments over the past few weeks are meant to be humorous digs at a show that some people, obviously including Chris himself, think may be a bit too stuffy,” producer Gil Cates said in a statement released by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rock called the notion of giving awards for art “idiotic” and said he has never cared for the Academy Awards, which he likened to a “fashion show.” He said the only time he watched was when black actors were nominated.

“What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one,” Rock was quoted as saying in the magazine’s Feb. 4 issue.

Cates, who is producing the Feb. 27 event, said he was not worried by those and other remarks. His statement followed a story posted Sunday on the Drudge Report Web site, which cited unnamed sources and reported that “academy members have privately called for Chris Rock to be removed as host, fearing Rock may ‘tarnish’ the reputation of the academy.”

Cates rejected that claim.

“The academy has heard no grumbling from its members and has no intention of even suggesting that Chris step aside,” he said.

Rock’s publicist did not return a call Monday from The Associated Press.