Sony Pictures Entertainment was the victim of a very serious hack last week, possibly originating from North Korea (though North Korea denies it and the technological prowess necessary to bypass the kind of protections on Sony’s archives would imply hackers whose nations have evolved beyond the Bronze Age). The attack exposed a number of Sony’s upcoming pictures, Sony employees’ personal details, thousands of emails between Sony employees and executives, and a teensy bit of abject racism on the part of Sony Entertainment bigwigs.
Once the emails were released onto the Internet, it was impossible to believe that someone – anyone – wasn’t going to spend time culling through them for a major Hollywood studio’s deepest secrets. After all, they did produce some surprisingly revelations about Angelina Jolie (the producers called her a “spoiled brat”), and verified what everyone already knew about Michael Fassbender’s trouser snake. And they demonstrated that, no matter how much you give to Democratic causes, you can still be a complete and total jerk.
Hollywood film producer Scott Rudin and Sony Pictures Chair Amy Pascal have been further embarrassed by leaked emails released as a result of the Sony hack, this time mocking President Barack Obama in a set of racist email exchanges.
On the eve of a fundraising breakfast being attended by the President at the home of DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Pascal and Rudin went over things she could discuss with Obama while at the event in October 2013.
‘Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?’ Pascal asks Rudin, a reference to the 2012 Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained that dealt with the subject of slavery in the antebellum South.
The pair then keep going, listing as many current films starring black actors as they can name, including Lee Daniels’ The Butler and two Kevin Hart movies, Think Like a Man and Ride Along.
‘I bet he likes Kevin Hart,’ says Rudin at one point.
This all come just one day after Rudin called Angelina Jolie ‘a minimally talented spoiled brat’ in emails discussing who would direct her upcoming remake of the classic film flop Cleopatra.
Nice. Implying the President has a taste for movies featuring slaves in the Antebellus south isn’t insulting to black people whatsoever, and clearly does not reveal any deep-seeded prejudices. Thankfully, MSNBC and others who are covering the Sony leak haven’t specifically mentioned these little exchanges, otherwise, they’d have to stop searching for implied racism in nearly everything Republican spokespeople and conservative activists say, and acknowledge that there might be a much larger problem among major Democratic donors.
And yes, both Rudin and Pascal are Democratic donors. The context of the emails indicate they were discussing President Obama’s film preferences in preparation to meet the President at a major Hollywood fundraiser. Rudin, herself, is a repeat donor, whose profile reveals a tendency to support any knee-jerk liberal cause, from Barack Obama’s Presidential campaigns, to the campaign to defeat Scott Walker in Wisconsin. She regularly gives to Democrats in toss-up elections and in swing states and appears to be a member of the Hollywood Womens Political Committee, which is dedicated to using vast movie star fortunes to support progressive candidates across the country, at all levels of government. Rudin is a bit harder to pin down, since he seems to be less consistent with his donations, but Open Secrets did include him in their annual Influence at the Oscars rundown for an $18,900 donation to various Democratic political candidates. His reputation among his peers is far more entertaining than his checkbook register, anyway.
Pascal and Rudin have declined to comment on the content of any of the emails, but did tell the New York Times that what they said shouldn’t take the spotlight off of what the hackers did. They’re definitely victims. Of something. Probably.
UPDATE: Both Rudin and Pascal have now issued apologies.