Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Jokes About Obama and Race

Barack Obama
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In the latest of embarrassing emails to leak online from Sony this week, studio co-chairman Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin riff on what President Barack Obama’s favorite movies could be, focusing mostly on films starring and by African Americans.

According to Buzzfeed, Pascal asked Rudin for advice before going to an Obama fundraiser hosted by DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg, particularly what she should ask the President “at this stupid Jeffrey breakfast.”

“Would he like to finance some movies,” responded Rudin.

“I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” said Pascal, with Rudin replying “12 YEARS.”

“Or the butler. Or think like a man?” continued Pascal, who is a major donor for the Democratic party and President Obama.

“Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart,” said Rudin.

Hart, who stars in the upcoming Sony comedy “The Wedding Ringer,” was called a “whore” by a different Sony exec (Clint Culpepper) in another email on Wednesday for demanding more money from the studio.

“I’m not saying he’s a whore, but he’s a whore,” Culpepper said of the box office star, who had asked for more money on top of his $3 million payment for tweeting about his new comedy.

“If he doesn’t do his normal routine,” he wrote to Pascal, “his film will not open as well and his brand will appear diminished and he will- in fact – be f—ing himself because we have his next 2 immediate films.”

On Tuesday, other damaging emails showed Pascal and Rudin trading nasty insults, mostly over the Steve Jobs biopic “Jobs” that started at Sony and ultimately moved to Universal. In the emails, Pascal said Angelina Jolie was upset that David Fincher was set to direct “Jobs” when she wanted him to direct her big-budget “Cleopatra,” to which Rudin called the actress a “minimally talented spoiled brat.” Rudin also took a jab at producer and Annapurna founder Megan Ellison, calling her a “28-year-old bipolar lunatic.”

As the Sony situation continues to unravel, it was revealed through more stolen emails on Wednesday that Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai stepped in to scrutinize and approve certain scenes from James Franco and Seth Rogen’s controversial upcoming film “The Interview.”

A group calling itself Guardians of Peace has been targeting Sony Pictures since Nov. 24, resulting in the leak of confidential information about executive and star salaries, movie budgets and employees’ personal information. The group also released five new Sony movies on torrent sites, including the upcoming titles “Annie” and “Still Alice.”

UPDATE: Pascal and Rudin have issued apologies for the content of their emails.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 116

Leave a Reply

116 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Mary B says:

    What the hell did Obama ever do to these lowlives? Pascal is about to meet the President and she can’t think of A Thing to ask him so this moron asks another racist for advice? Obama doesnt work wih them, he doesnt know them and they dont know him but THE ONLY THING that these two can associate with Obama is that he’s black (are they for real?) and then proceed to make juvenile, racist jokes? And they are running a major motion picture corporation yet operate on such a simple-minded, bottom-feeding, moronic level? A child knows better than this. Disgusting,

  2. vermontave says:

    “Rudin also took a jab at producer and Annapurna founder Megan Ellison, calling her a “28-year-old bipolar lunatic. Call Megan Ellison what you like, but she’s backed some strong films….”

  3. Hazel B. says:

    How can Sony continuously allow this, I smell a rat. I don’t like a two faced company. I am done with anything connected with “sony”, yes small S.

  4. Irby Foster says:

    Whats really amazing is that these high paid execs, who are supposed to emulate good character for the company, (as Im sure they have overseen terminations for similar conduct) carried on conversations in email of all things! Even the average Joe knows you don’t say these kind of insensitive remarks in company or personal email.

  5. LiarWatch says:

    Just like any other job, no incentive to give a good review, when you’re trying to nickel and dime others.

  6. lex says:

    the real point is that the entertainment industry and all of his players function behind a PR facade. They are phonies but very rich phonies who somehow don’t get criticized for being one percenters who exploit the people with their garbage.

    g

  7. Cheryl says:

    These are the same kind of people who talked

    smack about Paula Dean. Nothing more two faced than a Liberal.

  8. delvin says:

    If these same comments were made about jews, they would be out of jobs. The industry is run by jews so they get free pass for racist speech and films. However, if anyone other group says anything near offensive they are labeled an anti-semite. Seth Rogan went off on Macklemore for perceived anti-Semitism. Yet now he’s making a film that will have offensive images of koreans.

  9. ALL YOU DIRTY ROTTEN PEOPLE WHO DISRESPECT OUR PRESIDENT, OBAMA. DID YOU EVER HEAR OF “WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND” MEANING ALL YOU ROTTEN LOW LIFE TRASH WILL GET YOURS SOONER OR LATER. GOD SAYS “REVENGE IS HIS”

  10. in my opinion, they shouldn’t have to apologize for anything. These were personal A and B conversations that were leaked for the world to see. The leaker should be the one to apologize. No matter how insensitive these emails might be, it’s also none of our business.

  11. James says:

    So much talent and brains and so little wisdom and heart. When and why did these two stop maturing? Pathetic.

  12. Suzanne says:

    Pascal/Rudin should not only be fired/ they should be black balled in the industry….. Weasels! Don’t they know that they can easily be REPLACED…… Smug and stupid is a very bad combination!!! Petty little shmucks…… Paschal you’re a disgrace!!!! Go stand in a corner …. There’s one available for you in Syria….

  13. jim bond says:

    Proof positive that racism and bigotry is alive and doing quite well even in progressive circles. It seems that people of color are always accused of playing the race card but in reality they’re only playing the card that is dealt them.

  14. Donn Johnson says:

    Trivial nonsense from pompous new money people who think their shit doesn’t stink!!! It’s refreshing to see racism is still alive in Hollywood, while they contribute to causes as a tax write-off, NOT because they believe in them…sans cancelling one of the most popular Black cross-overs: Queen Latifahs’ talk show , to save money to produce ANOTHER White woman “Cleopatra” movie starring Angelina Jolie..

  15. kristina says:

    Not Mention there are some pretty ugly things about Sony on the Internet. Whitney Houston was apparently having a terrible time with them. Maybe it’s a good thing that Sony be brought down and exposed for being less than honorable. Michael Jackson also had some terrible times with Sony which is all over the Internet. People have got to stop being so hurtful to each other because when you hurt someone you are doing it to God and then you are doing to yourself. I haven’t heard anyone say that Sony is an honorable Company. I have heard they control a lot people in Hollywood. Let pray we can play on higher ground and start using some wisdom, integrity and some class. Both parties are to blame in that conversation. May God and Peace be with Obama.

  16. bettheduck says:

    Sony with their well known history of honor. Will allow pascal to dishonor President Obama.it’s only a matter of time that she will be shown the door

  17. Leslie Hill says:

    No surprise, when we say Racist is alive and well, we know what where talking about. And those two idiot proved it. And they say we need to get over it.Smfh

  18. Dale says:

    These people are always talking about equality, but the industry is overwhelmingly male and white. It’s do as I say, not as I do. They talk about global warming but fly huge jets, drive Suburbans, and have huge swimming pools. They talk about paying their “fair” share of taxes, but lobbies the congress for tax breaks while the middle class suffers. They say they care about the poor but constantly raise prices with over 100% profit margins. These are the 1 per centers that we Americans have got to STOP listening to. And that includes the a-holes in congress and the media. Stop letting them divide this nation. Most of the people ‘running’ the country are the ‘hippies’ from the 60s…

  19. Bev says:

    Are we really still surprised by this crap??? These types of conversations go on in board rooms, locker rooms, police precincts and around dinner tables all the time most likely. The apology is for getting caught!!!

  20. Becky says:

    If you’re black in Hollywood and you don’t realize by now most places only keep you around for some quota or to have a cool black (usually male) friend to show how diverse they are, I’m saddened by *you*.

  21. Regular Joe says:

    Largely unsurprising. I see you, Amy.

  22. i'm good says:

    Explains the lack of diversity in Hollywood. I’m so bored with seeing the same types of faces in the same types of movies.

  23. Brandi says:

    These “executives” sound stupid and childish talking about people the way they are. Far from professional and looks bad for Sony as they are running the business. These emails are ridiculous and I’m glad they were leaked, now we know who exactly we are dealing with with them at the helm.

  24. Dawn Delano says:

    Thanks, Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin, for convincing black people everywhere that all white people are racist as soon as they leave the room.

    • Starlite says:

      Not to mention, my friends always make a lot of mean comments about white girls, Beckys, Snowflakes, Starbucks, sluts, poor hygiene etc… so what if their emails got leaked. Would that mean all black people are racist?

  25. azarkhan says:

    Calm down everybody. After all, they are DEMOCRATS and donors to the DEMOCRATIC PARTY, so if they exhibit racism, it’s A-OK with other Democrats and the Democratic controlled mainstream media.

    Besides, everybody knows we are only allowed to condemn Republicans and Conservatives for racism, even if they are not racist. LOL

    • jim bond says:

      My dear friend,

      Why do you guys continue with your propaganda tactics about the Main Street media? Fox News is the largest media outlet in this country espousing hatred on a daily basis

    • Jackadullboy says:

      “Only allowed to condemn republicans and conservatives for racism”

      What?? Is this true? This is outrageous..!!!

      And here was me thinking the whole article was about condemning these people for it… I’m sickened to be wrong about that.

    • Humanist says:

      Black woman here… Recent event have revealed that there are many racist liberals and conservatives. It’s been a poignant lesson for me on the human condition

  26. All Treble, No Bass says:

    Thank you to Guardians of Peace. Keep exposing these hypocrites for the scum they really are. I have more respect (or less disrespect) for neo-Nazis than those studio executives because at least they readily admit their bigotry. And don’t say it’s a joke because they’re not goddamn comedians.

  27. pengelnyc says:

    Sweet people. Rudin is looney-turnes rageaholic whom many people think has Tourette’s Syndrome.

  28. Lily says:

    Disgusting and breathtakingly stupid comments. Sad that two people raised in Jewish homes would not have more intelligence and sensitivity before spouting moronically racist banter. Would they have made similarly crass jokes about a Jewish President? Goes to show, a persons religion means nothing if they do not abide by the core beliefs of that religion. This is pathetic.

  29. First Apple, now Sony. Tsk, tsk – good Hollywood leftists mocking a good leftist president? What is this world coming to? I love when the masks come off and these hypocrites reveal who they really are behind closed doors and keyboards.

    Just in case you were off planet when the Edward Snowden NSA Scandal came to light, there is really no such thing as 100% secure file storage if its connected to the internet. Especially if you use any third party storage… I store EVERYTHING on a portable hard drive… and dis-connect it when I am not using it.. You can get a terabyte portable hard drive for around $150.00, I never have to worry about losing anything or anyone stealing my files…and I don’t pay a monthly fee..

    Hell, I don’t even really use my “smart phone”. My old dumb-one is good enough for me and its cheaper. It’s a waste of money just like so many other things in America like student loans (get a cheap education!), expensive car insurance (my $25/month policy from Insurance Panda is good enough for me), and fast food (who wants to pay $10 for a Chipotle burrito?!?).

    Also – One way to completely ensure there are no bad photos of yourself that could wind up in an embarrassing situations is to NOT take them. Seems pretty logical to me… And if you don’t want your racist emails coming to light, don’t write them!

  30. pmc123 says:

    Note to Sony…hire someone that can improve your firewall security…

  31. anonymous says:

    If they did deeper into Clint Culpepper’s emails they will find far worse racially motivated emails.

  32. NY state of what? says:

    It’s fun to sit and watch the Obama presidency unravel. Democrats pushed an inexperienced, leftist nobody on us who was never vetted by the press.
    Turns out Obama has all the skills of a community organizer and has turned into a Sharptonesque anti Semite.
    Thanks Hollywood.
    You were used and abused but are too vain and ignorant to realize it.
    Tha nation spoke in the midterms. You’re so screwed.

    • mj says:

      I wish people had the guts to be as honest as Paul Krugman, who was one of POTUS’ biggest critics, until he looked at the facts.

      “… Obama faces trash talk left, right and center – literally – and doesn’t deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. […]

      This is what a successful presidency looks like. No president gets to do everything his supporters expected him to. FDR left behind a reformed nation, but one in which the wealthy retained a lot of power and privilege. On the other side, for all his anti-government rhetoric, Reagan left the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society in place. I don’t care about the fact that Obama hasn’t lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot. That is, as Joe Biden didn’t quite say, a big deal.”

    • Gospel says:

      You don’t believe anything you just wrote. You are not mad because the inexperienced black guy won, you are mad because you didn’t have anyone better than an experienced leftist that could compete with him in 50 states and over twelve year period in all the areas that mattered – like intellect for starters.

  33. Jim says:

    Somebody is going to be out of a job

  34. Julienne says:

    Obama’s half-white, half-black…it just goes to show that lying to the country about Obamacare, isn’t a racial thing…it’s a Liberal thing. He thinks lying to the people is okay.

    • Smooth says:

      You need to take that political nonsense over to a Faux News blog, This is a Show Business trade paper blog, you made a wrong turn.

    • muse says:

      He didn’t lie, Julienne. Healthcare spending is going down. Maybe you should turn off the “news” you’re watching (speaking of lies) and stick to the topic: the Sony hack and what this means for making movies that might ridicule a (real) dictator.

      • Rodney says:

        Healthcare costs are going down? I’m not sure what you mean by that. Premiums are rising at about 18 to 20% per year. And oh yeah your deductible that was $2000 for major medical three years ago is now $8000. Also have you checked out the healthcare and biotechnology stocks? They are raking in money left and right and trading at all time highs.

  35. DarthScorpio11 says:

    As a black guy, I couldn’t care less about this. People are overreacting. This woman is at worst guilty of making an off color immature racially sterotypical joke. Its not as if she said that Obama is a dumb monkey and should move back to Africa. Nothing to see here folks.

    • Minha says:

      Um, I think you’re lying- you’re pretending to be a “black guy” to justify your own racism and to get others buy into this foolishness. Sorry, but you’re outted. You’re just a liar thinking others a stupid and can’t see through you; nothing to see here.

    • muse says:

      But since you just did say that, Darth, and it was pretty horrible, it’s really difficult to tell whether you’re telling the truth about yourself, or if you’re trying to sneak/concern troll in a disgusting comment. Either way, there’s something to see. Just wish it hadn’t been your comment.

  36. SmArtie says:

    Putting Clint Culpepper’s comments about Kevin Hart acting like a “whore” in the same piece about Amy and Rudin’s privately racist conversations totally f’ed up!!! It is misleading and complete unfair to Clint because 1. Clint’s comments have nothing but to do with race; and 2. I know that he would completely (and probably did) say it to Kevin’s face! Love him or hate him, Clint is who he is and will tell it like it is (or at least like he sees it). Stop trying to further your agenda by painting him with the same paintbrush as the Amy/Rudin exchange. It ain’t right.

  37. Harry Caray says:

    Na Na Na Na Hey Hey-ey Goodbye

  38. marmarus says:

    This is hillarious – like the Hollywood version of the diplomatic cables leak. Everybody should just get over themselves and on with their lives. Oh, and incidentally – please David Fincher, don’t go and make Cleopatra now that you’re off Jobs. Rudin’s right, it’d be a waste of your talent.

  39. crookedmindframe says:

    I have to admit these Sony hackers are bringing a lot of interesting thing to light lol

    • Alex says:

      Not to mention embarrassing, these leaks are going to do a great deal of damage. It safe to say that EVERYBODY it the entertainment bizz has got the GEEK Squad checking their P.C. First it was nude photos being leaked now this, what’ and who is next? This is REALLY bad.

  40. Drake L.A. says:

    Their jokes are pretty racist. They’re not even satirical or ironic or even original… it just sounds like a couple of small-minded jerks who make fun of a black person simply because they’re black. Hollywood desperately needs some new blood. These people are dinosaurs and need to go away.

  41. ezekiel says:

    Resignations !!!!!

  42. kevin says:

    To those backing Amy/Scott:

    Many called for Donald Sterling’s resignation when a LEAKED recording of him going on a racist tirade was made public. Yeah, Sony is a private company and it’s not the NBA but Is there really a bigger difference? I don’t think so.

  43. topsy says:

    The worst kind of racists. Liberals in the public eye, arms around The President, attending fundraiserd. Racists amongst themselves, under the cowardly cloak of email. Disingenous lowlifes running Sony.

  44. cadavra says:

    Does anyone honestly think e-mails at all the other studios are any different? Almost all of them think like this–and it has nothing to do with liberal or conservative. It’s about self-entitled privilege by thoughtless fools who think they’re being funny.

    • AngieRae says:

      Get over yourself, and don’t be so high-minded about it.

      You’ve never told a joke or sent an email you wouldn’t want published for the world to see?

      • cadavra says:

        Not being high-minded at all. I’m simply making the point that the Sony folks are not unique in this regard. And yes, I’ve told “ethnic” jokes in my time. But as I’m a nobody, they’re not likely to turn up in the headlines any time soon. Plus they actually are funny.

  45. smooth says:

    Hang your racist worthless axx tonight klan member.

  46. Andrew Kole says:

    For such smart people – I mean Pascal & Rudin – I look forward to see where they are working next year because once again, ego got in the way of sense. It’s just another example of my favorite saying: “Men R Stupid – Woman R Nuts”
    Gotta love Hollywood…

  47. S.W. Riddle says:

    Don’t these producers and executives know that “Freedom of Speech” has not existed in this country for many years? How dare they tell a joke! How dare they share their true feelings! Being honest is no longer allowed! How ridiculous they must be to think that they have a right to give a true opinion in a private conversation? Are they unaware that the thought police are more powerful than ever now? The rest of us understand that we must comply with the limitations we have allowed to be placed upon us. We may never speak truth or smile or even think of something that has not been preapproved. We may never say anything that does not fully comply with the guidelines forced upon us by those who are consistently taking away what precious little freedom we have left. What do you think, Variety readers? – Would taking all of the Sony executives’ wealth away and giving it to those who are so scarred by those horrible words be enough of a punishment? Maybe we should we following it with . . . let’s say . . . a public stoning, for example? All who read this and disagree with any of it’s content will be punished. Do not think, only reply with a blank look and the words, “Yes, master.” This is the way we have been taught. We may only speak the approved words. The last thing we need in this country are people who think for themselves and still act as though “freedom of speech” still exists. Shameful!

  48. lou hodges says:

    Thank you NORTH KOREA!!! ha ha ha ha ha

  49. gary says:

    I know for a fact that all the studios are freaking out, changing passwords and hoping that their similar secrets are not discovered. It could be a lot worse. Just think of the secret memos from Rupert Murdoch

  50. Emma says:

    Liberal, conservative…there really is no difference when it comes to the powers that be. They all share the same racist, bigoted attitudes. Typical.

More Biz News from Variety

Loading