Amy Schumer: I received death threats after Oscars seat-filler joke

Speaking on the Howard Stern Show, Schumer discussed the segment of the 27 March ceremony in which she pretended to mistake the actor Kirsten Dunst, Oscar-nominated for her role in The Power of the Dog, for a seat-filler – someone who sits in a guest’s chair while they leave briefly to visit the bathroom, to give the impression of a full room.

Schumer was swift to explain to fans upset at the perceived slight that both Dunst and her partner, Jesse Plemons, were in on the joke. “Hey I appreciate the love for Kirsten Dunst,” she said. “I love her, too! Wouldn’t disrespect that queen like that.”

Schumer told Stern that this explanation was necessary after the abuse and threats she received in relation to the joke went out of control.

“They were so bad the secret service reached out to me,” said Schumer. “I was like, ‘I think you have the wrong number. It’s Amy, not Will [Smith].’ The misogyny is unbelievable.”

The Los Angeles police department also contacted Schumer concerning the joke.

Schumer told Stern that she was sure to brief all targets of her jokes in advance, including Leonardo DiCaprio, whose habit of dating much younger women was ridiculed. Schumer said DiCaprio replied, “Go ahead.”

Speaking to Stern, Schumer also sought to clarify a joke she said had been mooted for inclusion during the ceremony but which was scrapped on taste grounds. “Don’t Look Up is the name of a movie?” the joke ran. “More like don’t look down the barrel of Alec Baldwin’s shotgun.”

Public reaction to the joke, relating to Baldwin’s involvement with a fatal shooting on the set of western Rust, was scathing; Schumer said on 13 April she actually never intended to use it but instead wanted to demonstrate the kind of “evil horrible roast jokes that I can’t help [are] in my mind”.

Schumer also discussed the chief talking point of the ceremony: best actor winner Will Smith slapping the presenter Chris Rock for a joke about his wife’s alopecia. In the aftermath of the incident, Schumer declared herself “triggered and traumatized” by the incident.

“People made fun of me for saying it was traumatizing,” Schumer told Stern. “I don’t think it was traumatizing for me. I think it was traumatizing for all of us.”

Smith has since been banned from all Oscars events for 10 years as a result of his actions.

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