Sony email hack: What we’ve learned about greed, racism and sexism in Hollywood
When hackers attacked Sony Pictures recently, the greatest fears of Hollywood studio executives – and surely the wildest dreams of their assistants – came true. Thanks to the as yet unidentified, reputedly but actually probably not North Korean hackers, juicy details of executive salaries and executive emails have been thrown open for all to see. Here are five things we have learned so far:
Hollywood executives are mean …
An email exchange between producer Scott Rudin and Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal involved a spirited discussion about Angelina Jolie’s desire to have David Fincher direct her in Cleopatra, instead of Fincher taking on a film about Apple mogul Steve Jobs. Rudin did not want Jolie, whom he called “a minimally talented spoiled brat” getting involved with the production of the Jobs film. Laboring the point, Rudin, went on to say that the “brat” “thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for 18 months so she could go direct a movie [Unbroken] … She’s a camp event and a celebrity and that’s all and the last thing anybody needs is to make a giant bomb with her that any fool could see coming.”
… and casually racist …
Pascal, while discussing a breakfast at which she would be meeting President Barack Obama, asked Rudin: “Should I ask him if he like DJANGO” – a reference to the Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained, which is about a freed slave. She continued with this line, asking if she should see if he liked Lee Daniels’ The Butler, about a black man who served eight US presidents, and Think Like a Man, an ensemble romantic comedy featuring many prominent black actors. Think Like a Man actor Kevin Hart spoke out against the comments, as did TV megastar Shonda Rhimes, who called the exchange “racist” .
… and they don’t get paid the same …
Sony’s chief executive, Kazuo Hirai, makes about $1.5m . Nine executives below Hirai made as much, or more, than their boss, including Sony movie studio executive Michael Lynton, who made $3m.
… and female actors are paid differently too
Emails showed that Jennifer Lawrence made less than her male co-stars in American Hustle. In an email exchange between executives, it becomes clear that Lawrence is making less. “You may recall Jennifer was at 5 (amy was and is at 7) and WE wanted in 2 extra points for Jennifer to get her up to 7. If anyone needs to top jennifer up it’s megan. BUT I think amy and Jennifer are tied so upping JL, ups AA.” “AA” and “Amy” are Amy Adams, the film’s other female lead; Megan is Megan Ellison, head of the company that financed the film with Columbia.
They also gently bend scripts to suit foreign markets
For The Interview, a comedy about assassinating the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, executives considered making the ending less violent. In an email to Hirai, Pascal wrote: “There is no face melting, less fire in the hair, fewer embers on the face, and the head explosion has been considerably obscured by the fire, as well as darkened to look less like flesh.”
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