The Academy of Motion Picture arts and Sciences, aka The Academy, or simply ‘the people behind The Oscars’ is to sue an unrelated company distributing gift bags at this year’s awards following controversy over the contents of this year’s bags.
The Academy notes that it ceased distributing ‘gift bags’ in 2006, following a dispute over the subject with US tax authorities - the Academy agreed to pay taxes on gift bags previously handed out to presenters and performers as a result of the dispute, although no financial details were ever released, and it is at this point other companies stepped in to handle the important task of giving people items they probably don’t need.
The Academy has now filed a complaint against one such company, Distinctive Assets, following negative coverage about the contents of this year’s bag. Gifts contained in the bags include a $5,500 (dh 20,203) certificate for plastic surgery, a $250 sex toy and a $250 marijuana vaporizer. Perhaps most controversially, this year’s bags also include voucher for an-all-expenses-paid, luxury holiday in Israel, which has aroused the anger of Palestinian support groups.
The total estimated value of each of this year’s bags is thought to be in excess of $200,000, which is ironic given that they are only presented to the nominees in the main acting and directing categories, so in other words the richest, most famous and least needy of the year’s hopefuls.
An Academy spokesman said on filing the official complaint: “Distinctive Assets has been falsely representing that its extravagant ‘gift bags’ [are] redistributed by the Academy, at its direction, or with its endorsement or approval. The Academy has no affiliation with Distinctive Assets. It does not hire Distinctive Assets, consult with it, or help it distribute gift bags. All reports of an ‘official Oscar gift bag,’ or a fight bag distributed at the Oscars containing the products Distinctive Assets promotes, are untrue.”