All-around awful. Sony Pictures chair Amy Pascal and high-powered producer Scott Rudin joked about President Barack Obama‘s race in an incendiary email exchange leaked by hackers, as posted by BuzzFeed on Wednesday, Dec. 10. They later issued apologies for their insensitive remarks.
In the messages, Pascal allegedly asked Rudin for suggestions on what she should discuss with Obama at a “stupid” fundraising breakfast hosted by DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg, a big Democratic donor, in November 2013.
Rudin, 56, whose producing credits include Moneyball, Captain Phillips, and The Social Network, asked whether he would like to help finance any films.
“I doubt it,” Pascal responded. “Should I ask him if he liked Django [Unchained]?”
Rudin replied: “12 Years [a Slave],” to which Pascal brought up a series of other films starring African-Americans. “Or the butler. Or think like a man?”
“Ride-along,” responded Rudin. “I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”
At the actual fundraiser, the president spoke about the entertainment industry, “one of the bright spots of our economy,” while praising Katzenberg. Obama made no mention of the films tossed back and forth between Rudin and Pascal, although he did joke at one point: “My ears were the inspiration for Shrek.”
According to BuzzFeed, Pascal donated $5,000 to Obama’s reelection campaign, in addition to a $30,800 check to the Democratic National Convention. Read more of Rudin’s shocking comments.
Sony was the victim of a cyber attack on Nov. 24, resulting in the release of celebrity aliases, salaries of top executives, and more sensitive, downright embarrassing documents. On Wednesday, a bitter internal dispute involving Angelina Jolie and director David Fincher leaked online. “I’m not destroying my career over a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for eighteen months so she could go direct a movie,” Rudin wrote of Brad Pitt‘s wife in an email to Pascal.
Rudin spoke to the New York Times on Wednesday about the gross invasion of privacy. “This is not about salacious emails being batted around by Gawker and Defamer,” he told the paper. “It’s about a criminal act, and the people behind it should be treated as nothing more nor less than criminals.”
On Thursday, both Rudin and Pascal separately apologized for their comments. “Private emails between friends and colleagues written in haste and without much thought or sensitivity, even when the content of them is meant to be in jest, can result in offense where none was intended,” Rudin told Deadline. “I made a series of remarks that were meant only to be funny, but in the cold light of day, they are in fact thoughtless and insensitive — and not funny at all. To anybody I’ve offended, I’m profoundly and deeply sorry, and I regret and apologize for any injury they might have caused.”
Pascal’s statement mirrored Rudin’s comments. “The content of my emails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am,” she said. “Although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended.”
The FBI is currently investigating the hacks.
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