On April 28 2021, an Imgur post (“The Academy is savage”) purportedly showed a statement in response to former United States President Donald Trump attributed to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:
Contents of the Screenshot
A screenshot appeared to have been taken from Facebook (due to the presence of Facebook-specific reactions in the center of the screenshot). At the top was a statement attributed to former President Trump, dated April 27 2021 and titled “Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America.”
Peppered with random capitalization, it read:
What used to be called The Academy Awards, and now is called the “Oscars” — a far less important and elegant name — had the lowest Television Ratings in recorded history, even much lower than last year, which set another record low. If they keep with the current ridiculous formula, it will only get worse — if that’s possible. Go back 15 years, look at the formula they then used, change the name back to THE ACADEMY AWARDS, don’t be so politically correct and boring, and do it right. ALSO, BRING BACK A GREAT HOST. These television people spend all their time thinking about how to promote the Democrat Party, which is destroying our Country, and cancel Conservatives and Republicans. That formula certainly hasn’t worked very well for The Academy!
Underneath the statement was a statement also dated April 27 2021, titled “Statement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.” Styled as a direct response to Trump, it read:
What used to be called The President of The United States, and now is some guy called “Don” a FAR less important and elegant name has the lowest approval rating of any President in MODERN HISTORY. Your hair is ridiculous, your tan is ridiculous and everything you say is dumb. Go back 15 years, GET A NEW REALITY SHOW pretend to write another book and go back to bed.
P.S. Our show SUCKED this year cause you gave everybody Covid.
On April 27 2021, Trump indeed issued the statement seen in the screenshot; he has frequently issued statements to the press since losing the November 2020 presidential election in an increasingly shrill bid for media attention.
In response to this particular statement, entertainment trade publication Deadline reported:
Donald Trump’s office emailed a statement to reporters Tuesday [April 27 2021] in which the former president bashed the Oscars, noting its low ratings and suggesting that it return a host to the proceedings and change its name back to the Academy Awards.
The story noted that Trump had previously criticized the Oscars, and it also added additional information about nomenclature for the Academy and its annual awards ceremony:
As president, Trump also took to criticizing the telecast, including last year, when he bashed Oscar voters for giving best picture to Parasite. At a rally, he said of the South Korean film, “What the hell was that all about? We’ve got enough problems with South Korea with trade. On top of that, they give them best movie of the year. Was it good? I don’t know.”
ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences frequently use the term “Oscars” to describe the ceremony, but AMPAS still refers to the awards as the Academy Awards.
‘Statement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’
Deadline didn’t mention any response by the Academy in response to Trump, which would be an unexpected omission — both purported statements were dated April 27 2021, the same date the item was published.
At least one Imgur commenter doubted the veracity of the response, commenting:
Is this real? Doesn’t seem on-brand for AMPAS, they like to keep things ‘classy’.
Is this true?
On Imgur, responses are nested and only visible if users click on the “+” sign; not all users can easily see sub-threads. In sub-threads for both comments, users pointed out a “#KIMMEL” watermark on the image, suggesting it was a joke by comedian Jimmy Kimmel.
At 11:42 PM on April 27 2021, Kimmel tweeted the real Trump statement and what was clearly a parody for his television show, side by side:
Trump lashed out at the Academy. Their response tho… pic.twitter.com/FdZ261Xdk1
— Jimmy Kimmel Live (@JimmyKimmelLive) April 28, 2021
It is true that Donald Trump emailed the meandering and indifferently capitalized statement seen on Imgur (and on the right on Kimmel’s tweet) to reporters on April 27 2021, castigating the Academy and the Oscars for political correctness, among other things. Kimmel tweeted a popular, satirical response by the Academy late on April 27 2021. The images were shared to Facebook, and then to Imgur with the caption “The Academy is savage.” Outside the context of its appearance on Kimmel’s Twitter feed, users were unsure whether the claim was accurate. However, in the original context, the Academy’s response to Trump was clearly a joke by Kimmel.