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The Oscar blunder story has taken a scary turn, as the accountants involved with announcing the wrong best picture winner have hired bodyguards.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers representative says that the firm has enlisted a security service for Brian Cullinan, the accountant responsible for handing over the incorrect envelope that led to La La Land being announced as best picture rather than actual winner Moonlight, and his colleague, Martha Ruiz. The accounting firm, which has worked with the Academy Awards for 83 years, says it made the decision due to throngs of people congregating outside Cullinan’s and Ruiz’s respective homes.
The PwC rep says that the firm has received hundreds if not thousands of emails from the public and has only begun to sift through them. The firm has not seen any death threats, according to the rep, who has read through very few of the angry missives, but the groups of people outside Cullinan’s and Ruiz’s homes posed enough of a threat for PricewaterhouseCoopers to take action.
“This isn’t something we typically deal with,” the representative says. “But the firm felt it was necessary based on the number of people outside their homes.”
On Wednesday, the Academy said it has severed ties with Ruiz and Cullinan, who was seen taking photos with his phone and tweeting backstage before the epic flub happened. Cullinan tweeted (and later deleted) a photo of best actress winner Emma Stone in the stage wings around the same time he gave presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope for best picture. It is still not entirely clear what mistakes Ruiz made that got her banished by the Academy, but she appears not to have acted quickly enough to correct the situation.
Cullinan and Ruiz have seen their faces plastered on newspapers worldwide and mocked for the mistake and presumably for not acting fast enough to rectify it before the La La Land producers had made three speeches giving thanks for winning the night’s top prize. The accountants’ home addresses have been shared on social media.
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