Sony Pictures suffered a major setback in their public relations department. After internet sleuths hacked the Japanese multinational conglomerate, a slew of embarrassing emails have gone public this week.
Studio co-chairman Amy Pascal and Top Five producer Scott Rudin were just the latest to get caught up in the hoopla after riffing on what President Barack Obama’s favorite movies could be. The duo focused their attention mostly on pictures that starred African Americans.
Pascal, 56, who is ranked as the 28th most powerful woman by Forbes, asked Rudin for advice before going to an Obama fundraiser hosted by DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg. “What should I ask the president at this stupid Jeffrey breakfast,” she reportedly wrote in an email exchange to Rudin. “Would he like to finance some movies,” responded Rudin.
According to TIME, Pascal also wrote, “Should I ask him if he liked Django?” Rudin replied, “12 Years,” in reference to Steve McQueen’s Oscar award-winning picture, 12 Years A Slave.
“Or ‘The Butler.’ Or ‘Think Like A Man’?” continued Pascal, who serves as a major contributor to the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama. “‘Ride Along.’ I bet he likes Kevin Hart,” Rudlin reportedly wrote.
Hart, who stars in the upcoming Sony comedy The Wedding Ringer with Josh Gad, was also included in emails
In a recently released email by Guardians of Peace, Sony exec Clint Culpepper called the box office comedian a “whore” for demanding more money from the studio to do social media. “I’m not saying he’s a whore, but he’s a whore,” Culpepper said of Hart, who wanted payment for tweeting about his new comedy. “If he doesn’t do his normal routine,” he wrote to Pascal, “his film will not open as well and his brand will appear diminished.”
Other emails stem from Pascal and Rudin trading insults over the Steve Jobs biopic, Jobs, which started at Sony and ultimately moved to Universal. Pascal said Angelina Jolie was upset that David Fincher wanted to direct Jobs over her big-budget Cleopatra, to which Rudin called the actress a “minimally talented spoiled brat.”
With Sony’s situation continuing to unravel, CEO Kazuo Hirai has stepped in to deflect some of the negative attention the company has received. The attacks stem from Guardians of Peace, a hacktivist group who has targeted Sony Pictures since November 24, pegged to the company’s subsequent release of the controversial James Franco and Seth Rogen film, The Interview. In addition to stolen and leaked emails, five new Sony pictures were released to torrent sites, including Annie and Still Alice, and confidential information about executive and star salaries were released.
Sony, according to reports, has declined to comment on the leaked information while Rudin and Pascal have yet to respond to the reported claims.