LOS ANGELES, December 17, 2014—News about the Sony Pictures email hack has ranged from harsh to hilarious. The embarrassing leaks of private email exchanges between Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin has received the most mileage so far.
In one email, Rudin calls actress/director Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat.” There is a now infamous photo of Jolie and Pascal from last week’s Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 Breakfast.
Pascal is attempting the usual Hollywood air hug/kiss, and Angelina is having none of it, returning Pascal’s attempt at warmth with an icy stare.
Then there are the exchanges between Pascal and Rudin surrounding one of President Obama’s multitudinous visits to Los Angeles to be fawned over and to shill for money—money which Hollywood willingly forks over. Buzzfeed reported this exchange about one of those visits. DreamWorks Animation head and major Democratic donor Jeffrey Katzenberg hosted a breakfast to which Pascal had been summoned.
From the tone of the emails, it wasn’t on her “must” list.
“’What should I ask the president at this stupid Jeffrey breakfast?’ Pascal wrote to Rudin.
“Rudin, a top film producer responsible for films like No Country for Old Men and Moneyball, responded, ‘Would he like to finance some movies.’ Pascal replied, ‘I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?’ Rudin responded: ‘12 YEARS.’ Pascal quickly continued down the path of guessing Obama preferred movies by or starring African Americans. ‘Or the butler. Or think like a man? [sic]’
Rudin’s response: ‘Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.’”
Both Pascal and Rudin have apologized. Pascal said her comments were, “Insensitive and Inappropriate.”
Many people are screaming racism (how original), and Pascal has even gone so far as to “kiss the ring” of the Rev. Al Sharpton, seeking absolution. Rev. Al is having none of it. He told TMZ, “We’ll determine there [in a future meeting with the Urban League’s Marc Morial and the NAACP’s Cornell Brooks] whether we are going to join calls for her resignation, or whether she is going to really, seriously going to deal with the fact that Hollywood really reflects a lot of what was said in that conversation.”
I guess, “No Justice, No Peace” extends to loose-lipped Hollywood executives who get hacked, as well as cops doing their jobs who avoid grand jury prosecution.
This goes beyond racism to something equally disturbing: How can a very well-paid person who dictates American entertainment be so clueless and lack necessary social skills to know how to converse with a head of state?
Yes, it is the President of the United States. You definitely don’t want to play the part of fawning moonstruck teenager, as Gwyneth Paltrow did when she hosted a dinner for the President in October.
But can you not come up with better conversation starters? Are you really that socially inept? One wonders how Pascal got to the level of co-chairman in an international corporation—after this leak, maybe we don’t want to know.
Uber-screenwriter and HBO’s Newsroom showrunner Aaron Sorkin took to the New York Times to express his outrage that more people in Hollywood have not spoken out against the “morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable” media reporting on these leaked emails. This is the same media that Sorkin elevated to mythic level in his latest series offering. Hypocritical much?
Then there is the Oprah, who took a much softer tone over Pascal’s indiscretions. CNN’s Don Lemon asked Oprah about the Sony hacks, and she cautioned against rushing to judge Pascal.
“I would hope that we would not stand in such harsh judgment of a moment in time where somebody was hacked and their private conversations were put before the world,” she said.
When former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s private conversations with his girlfriend ended up in the news, Oprah had a less generous tone:
“It feels like a plantation mentality in the 21st century, in 2014,” she said to CBS This Morning in April. “It just doesn’t fit. And I’m waiting to see what they do. Something has to be done…that needs to happen, like, now.”
Oprah knows how to play the game: until Pascal’s fate is certain, Oprah still needs to get her pet projects greenlit—so no rushing to judgment on Pascal’s supposed racism, but Sterling’s racism was a done deal.
All this is a clear reflection on the selective outrage of the Hollywood liberal elite. As the hackers Guardians of Peace threaten more damage (and violence), no doubt we will see more of this two-stepping and faux outrage from Hollywood’s A-list.
Jennifer Oliver O’Connell also writes for Examiner.com on Los Angeles Faith and Community, and has her own blog, As the Girl Turns. Follow
Jennifer @asthegirlturns on Twitter and at As the Girl Turns on Facebook.