On Michael Bay’s panic at CES

Like countless others here at CES in Las Vegas, I’ve just seen director Michael Bay have a “meltdown” on stage at Samsung’s press conference. After an apparent fault with an autocue during his talk about a new Samsung TV, the visibly shaken Bay apologised into his microphone and bailed from the stage to nervous applause.

To many commenters across the internet, this was hilarious. Certainly across the floor of CES in the hour or so afterwards, it was a more important topic of conversation than the television itself. But watching it back (The Verge has a clip) I think I saw a man plummet into an anxiety attack, and under such fight or flight situations, he fled.

I feel sorry for him, and anyone who has experienced the venom of a full panic attack and the humiliation of one occurring during public speaking should do too. The explosion of fear, adrenaline and stress that fires through the veins during panic is unsympathetic to all men; your body temporarily wants you to flee at whatever cost, and it lets you know by invoking a feeling that you’re facing death; your brain’s awareness of how many eyes are fixed on you will compound those feelings with wild emotion, meanwhile your skin is on fire.

It’s an evil feeling.

Commenters across the internet have seen this as a fitting moment to laugh at Bay, perhaps fuelled by the fact that so many of his films are easy to criticise. But regardless, a person breaking down on stage out of emotion and a loss of control shouldn’t be taken too lightly.