Sony exec apologises for 'insensitive' e-mails about Obama's race


  • TECH
  • Friday, 12 Dec 2014

THE BRUNT OF JOKES?: Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal joked about asking President Obama if he liked the movie Django Unchained.

LOS ANGELES: Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal apologised  for "insensitive" jokes she made about President Barack Obama in e-mails that were stolen by hackers who recently attacked the studio's computer network.

The e-mails were exchanged between Pascal and film producer Scott Rudin, according to a report on the BuzzFeed website. Ahead of a breakfast event with the president, the pair joked about the type of movies Obama might like, mentioning films with African-American themes or stars.

"Should I ask him if he liked Django?" Pascal wrote, referring to slave revenge tale Django Unchained. She later suggests The Butler or Think Like a Man, the report said.

Reuters could not verify the accuracy of the e-mails.

In a statement, Pascal acknowledged the existence of the e-mails, but did not confirm any details.

"The content of my e-mails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am," Pascal said in a statement.

"Although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologise to everyone who was offended," she said.

Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton, who has recently spoken out against police brutality in dealing with black people, said Pascal's apology was "not enough" and her comments "reflect a continued lack of diversity in positions of power in Hollywood."

"These e-mails nominate Amy Pascal to be considered by some of us in the same light" as former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Sharpton said in a statement.

Sharpton called on Pascal to immediately meet with black leaders, and said Sony must take steps "to respect the African American community and reflect that respect in their hiring and business practices."

Rudin also apologised, saying the e-mails were "written in haste" and "meant to be in jest."

"To anybody I've offended, I'm profoundly and deeply sorry, and I regret and apologise for any injury they might have caused," he said in a statement.

Sony Pictures, a unit of Japan's Sony Corp, was the target of a massive cyber attack that became public on Nov 24 by unidentified hackers who released a trove of internal company data and emails. Sony has acknowledged that a large amount of data was stolen, but has declined to confirm specific documents.
— Reuters

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