‘A bulge cannot be showing’: John Cena’s nude Oscars stunt was so regulated that a Disney exec had to add nudity fail-safes

What was meant to be a fun and shocking moment at the 96th Oscars was actually an incredibly regulated, rehearsed endeavor that went through a stringent approval process.

Actor and professional wrestler John Cena mimicked a 1974 nude streaker from the 46th Oscars by seemingly appearing nude onstage to present an award for best costume. In reality, the stunt was a perfect microcosm of Hollywood’s decline; an injection of forced comedy that is as regulated as it is unnecessary.

For all intents and purposes, Cena’s nudity was a carefully crafted, legally sound “comedy” bit that received input from Disney executives and standards and practices lawyers. One of those executives was Rob Mills, Walt Disney Television’s executive vice president of Unscripted and Alternative Entertainment. Ironically, Mills’ job was to ensure that Cena’s faux-nude appearance was not unscripted at all.

“There was a lot of reticence of not just a fine from the FCC, but potential complaints,” Mills told Variety. Disney’s legal team made it clear that it had to be obvious that Cena wasn’t naked.

In a joking attempt to “educate,” Mills noted that “a bulge cannot be showing, and you can’t show crack.” However, the Disney executive jumped through hoops and even put fail-safes in place to make sure the bit made it to air.

“‘What happens if he drops that card?’ So, we made sure that, for all intents and purposes, he looked like a Ken doll up front. His crack was covered in the back and then the envelope was Velcro-ed on there so it wouldn’t fall. But beyond that, he was naked.”

The bit was rehearsed on a closed set before network representatives battled with what was acceptable with the standards and practices department.

“They were sweating,” said Oscars producer Molly McNearney. “I think at the end we all got to a spot where we were comfortable, S&P was comfortable, and it didn’t compromise the comedy a bit. I was very thankful that we didn’t have to send him out there in tighty whities, which I’m sure legal would have preferred.”

McNearney added that she wanted for audiences to debate whether or not Cena was nude. “Maybe it’s not what [S&P] wanted. That’s definitely what I want!”

It is indeed strange how highly regulated a comedy bit about a 250-pound athlete pretending to appear nude is under Disney’s watch, given their celebration of leftist ideology that is both incredibly obscure and sexual in nature.

The Oscars even celebrated Emma Stone’s performance in “Poor Things,” a movie about an infant-minded female Frankenstein monster who discovers her freedom through worldly sexual escapades. Her travels are described in one scene by the character as “whoring.”

Stone described her character as an “acceptance of what it is to be a woman: to be free, to be scared and brave.” The film, by Disney studio Searchlight Pictures, took home four Oscars in total.

Interestingly, Oscars producer McNearney is also an executive producer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live”; Kimmel also hosted the Oscars. Neither is a stranger to the type of performance put on by Cena, either. In late 2022, actor Jason Momoa stripped down to a “traditional Hawaiian Malo,” sharing his bare backside with Kimmel’s studio audience.

Overly prepared “comedy” involving nearly nude male actors certainly adds to an ever-growing belief viewers have that masculinity and heterosexuality are targeted by mainstream media for humiliation.

It doesn’t help Hollywood’s cause in this argument when segments such as those mentioned receive hours of scrutiny, while at the same time corporations like Disney openly admit to wanting to inject LGBT content into their productions.

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