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In #MeToo era, Oscar nominees get pepper spray in gift bags

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
Preparations are underway for the 2018 Oscars, including rolling out the red carpet, and the swag is being delivered. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Oscar nominees are never losers. While some may not take home those shiny little statues, not only is their work heralded in a telecast watched around the globe, but they get a ton of consolation prizes.

This year, nominees — who include Meryl Streep, Margot Robbie, and Allison Janney — received a plethora of A-list-worthy swag, including a 24-karat gold facial to get pretty, a 12-night trip to Tanzania to see the world, and a “conflict-free” diamond necklace to get glam. But in both the unofficial Oscar gift bag as well as at the official Red Carpet Luxury Lounge, they were also given pepper spray and other personal safety products in support of the #MeToo movement, which blew up in October after exposés of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein.

Sabre, a security systems company, said in a press release on Wednesday that it’s “encouraging the 2018 Oscar nominees in [the] #MeToo Movement” by giving away five products, including a key-case pepper spray, a gel pepper spray, two kinds of personal body alarms, and a drink test kit to make sure your drink isn’t drugged.

These Kuros Key Case Pepper Sprays are being given out to nominees. The company says that for every one sold, it will give women at high risk of sexual assault in a developing nation their own pepper spray for self-defense. (Courtesy of SABRE)

“This event is a unique opportunity for us to lend a helping hand in the #MeToo movement with solutions that take aim at the harassment culture that’s been pervasive most notably in the entertainment industry and in broader society,” the company’s CEO, David Nance, said in a statement. “We hope to help others by inspiring self-empowerment.”

Nominees can also use this drink test kit to find out whether someone has slipped something into a beverage. (Courtesy of SABRE)

There are also other products along the same theme. The “unsanctioned” Oscars gift bag (it’s unsanctioned because of this lawsuit), which is worth at least $100,000 and goes out to 26 stars and directors this year, includes a lightweight pepper spray by the brand PepperFace.

Nominees have their choice of several pepper sprays this year. (Courtesy of PepperFace)

That company’s press release calls out Weinstein by name: “In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, PepperFace is arriving in Hollywood at the perfect time.” CEO Brian Pennington said he hopes the gift empowers women. “We want to be an awareness symbol to help end violence against women and also provide resources for those unfortunate enough to have become a victim of violence,” he said in a statement.

Believe it or not, pepper spray has actually been on the giveaway list before. In 2014, back when the gift bags were only worth $80,000, there were $120 pink and camo-print mace pepper guns. However, this is the first time the spray has come with press releases saying the reason is “women’s empowerment” and calling out Weinstein.

Of course, many of Hollywood’s leading ladies were among Weinstein’s accusers. That opened the floodgates for other female and male actors and behind-the-scenes folks to share their own experiences. One who’s gotten a lot of attention this week is a former E! News stylist who accused Ryan Seacrest of sexual misconduct. Seacrest was cleared after a private investigation conducted by the network, and he’ll be on the red carpet during interviews at the awards this Sunday, despite a mounting outcry.

The 90th Academy Awards will go down at the Dolby Theatre this Sunday, March 4, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The ceremony will air live nationwide on ABC.

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