They have both since apologized, but a powerful Hollywood studio boss and a high-flying movie producer exchanged now-public emails seen as insulting, insensitive, demeaning, even racist — emails mocking the political star whom left-coast liberals have long idolized — Barack Obama.
Enter Al Sharpton, right on cue, with a sharp condemnation and a call for more “diversity” in the top ranks of the entertainment industry.
The offending series of emails that have gotten Sharpton’s attention were exchanged between Sony Pictures CEO Amy Pascal and her friend Scott Rudin, the prolific producer of movies such as “No Country for Old Men,” “The Social Network” and “Moneyball,” as well as the HBO series “The Newsroom.”
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Leaked by hackers who have been attacking Sony in a massive cyber-security breach, the emails reportedly referred to the Sony chief’s anticipated encounter with Obama at a political breakfast:
Pascal asked: “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.”
Sharpton pounced. As reported at businessinsider.com, the civil rights activist and Obama adviser compared the revelations about the Sony exec to the recent controversy over the NBA owner whose “private” remarks got him into big trouble.
Notably, Sharpton compared Pascal to Donald Sterling, the former LA Clippers owner who made his own infamous racial remarks in a leaked tape earlier this year. Facing intense pressure, Sterling ultimately sold the team.
And Sharpton is now saying the hacked emails incident shows that Hollywood needs more “diversity,” though some might see the Reverend’s logic as somewhat challenged.
“What is most troubling about these statements is that they reflect a continued lack of diversity in positions of power in major Hollywood studios,” he said.
The current Sony studio boss, Amy Pascal, is a major Democratic donor. According to opensecrets.org, Pascal gave $5,000 to Obama’s re-election campaign and cut a $30,800 check to the Democratic National Committee.
It’s yet to be seen if the troubling emails — along with any trouble that might be stirred up by Al Sharpton — might motivate Pascal, Rudin, and their Hollywood buddies to be even more generous to liberal campaigns and causes in the future.