Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz — the two accountants at the center of the Oscars' Best Picture envelope mixup — won't be losing their jobs at PricewaterhouseCoopers
The two accountants at the center of the Academy Awards’ Best Picture envelope mixup may not be working Hollywood’s biggest night ever again, but still have their jobs at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
On Wednesday, the accounting firm told NBC News that Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz — the Oscars’ envelope guardians — are under their employer’s protection and “are not going anywhere.”
Furthermore, the company said that both accountants have security guards after personal details and pictures of their homes were posted online.
A PwC spokesperson confirmed to PEOPLE Thursday that “Yes they have security. They will remain partners at the firm.”
A day earlier, a spokesperson for the company also told PEOPLE “I can confirm they have been taken off the Academy Awards but they will still remain partners at the firm.”
Asked whether the Academy should end its association with PwC after the incident, legal expert Irwin Feinberg told PEOPLE, “I don’t think that would be all that effective and here’s why: They’ve already stated very publicly that he and the other woman would no longer have any responsibilities with the Oscars. I’m not sure there is much to gain by taking this further.”
Cullinan is being blamed for the bulk of the incident. He mistakenly handed the wrong envelope to Bonnie and Clyde costars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, who then announced La La Land as the Best Picture winner instead of Moonlight, the actual victor.
In the now-deleted tweet, Cullinan shared a photo of the Best Actress winner smiling while holding her award backstage. The time stamp shows it was posted at 9:05 p.m..
“Brian was asked not to tweet or use social media during the show,” the source said. “He was fine to tweet before he arrived at the red carpet but once he was under the auspices of the Oscar night job, that was to be his only focus.”
The source continued, “Tweeting right before the Best Picture category was announced was not something that should have happened.”
The mix-up was cleared up on stage at the Dolby Theatre in what has become the most-talked about moment from Sunday’s show. Though Ruiz wasn’t responsible for handling the Best Picture envelope, she was criticized for not acting quickly enough to correct the error.
“Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner,” PwC said in their statement to PEOPLE.
It’s unclear whether the Academy will end its 83-year relationship with the accounting firm after the mix-up.
“The Academy has launched a full-scale review of its relationship with PwC but it is very complicated,” a source told PEOPLE. “Vote-tallying and the Oscar night job is just one part of what PwC does with the Academy. It is too early to say how this will play out but everyone is of course taking it very very seriously.
Cullinan has not publicly commented or posted on his Twitter account since the blunder, although his PwC partner Ruiz shared a selfie from the red carpet with Cullinan and Michael Strahan after the accounting firm took responsibility for the error.
Cullinan and Ruiz were the representatives from PwC tasked with figuring out the Oscar winners and bringing the sealed envelopes containing the well-guarded secrets to the awards show. Two PwC staffers previously told MarketWatch that for security, there are “two briefcases, that are identical, and we have two entire sets of winning envelopes.”
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During the show, the two take their places on opposite sides of the stage, handing presenters their cards (depending on which side they enter from).
Ahead of the show, both Ruiz and Cullinan seemed assured that no mistake of that kind would be made.
Cullinan told The Huffington Post before the ceremony that if a wrong winner were to be called, “We would make sure that the correct person was known very quickly. Whether that entails stopping the show, us walking onstage, us signaling to the stage manager — that’s really a game-time decision, if something like that were to happen. ”
He added, “Again, it’s so unlikely.”