Accuses Sony investor of creating a "climate of fear"
Loeb, who runs New York-based hedge fund Third Point Capital, has criticized Sony’s upper management in recent weeks and pointed to the poor performance of summer pics “White House Down” and “After Earth.” Third Point, which owns a 7% stake in the studio, has been pushing for a spinoff of the U.S.-based entertainment assets into a separate public entity and has called for more accountability from top Sony execs Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal.
“How any hedge fund guy can call for responsibility is beyond me, because if you look at those guys, there is no conscience at work,” Clooney said in an interview published Friday by Variety sister publication Deadline. “A guy from a hedge fund entity is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry.”
Clooney also said that Loeb is trying to spread a “climate of fear” at Sony.
“It’s crazy he has weight in this conversation at all,” Clooney said. “If guys like this are given any weight because they’ve bought stock and suddenly feel they can tell us how to do our business — one he knows nothing about — this does great damage than trickles down. The board of directors starts saying, ‘Wait a minute. What guarantee do you have that this movie makes money?’”
Clooney said that if hedge fund guys like Loeb continue to scare the industry, it will only lead to more “crap” coming out as studios take fewer and fewer risks.
But Clooney may not have much to worry about. Earlier this week, Nikkei broke the news that Sony’s board was leaning toward rejecting Loeb’s spinoff proposal.
Third Point is a minority stakeholder in Variety Media, along with majority owner Penske Media Corporation, which also owns Deadline.