Amy Pascal Apologizes, Vows to Work With Urban League on Diversity

Amy Pascal
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal spent Thursday trying to mend more fences, this time by taking a meeting with top civil rights leaders.

National Urban League CEO Marc Morial came away from a 90-minute sitdown with the studio chief convinced that she means what she says and is committed to trying to improve diversity in the movie business.

“When people stumble, they can learn from the stumble,” said Morial. “While in many respects it shouldn’t take a stumble. In this case, it presents a great opportunity.”

Pascal ignited a firestorm of controversy last week after racially charged jokes she made in an email exchange with producer Scott Rudin about President Obama’s favorite movies, focusing on movies mainly made by and starring African-Americans, leaked online. Pascal later apologized for her remarks.

“She expressed regret and remorse and indicated the emails do not reflect who she was as a person,” Morial said.

The discussion unfolded at the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca and also included Rev. Al Sharpton, who was a fierce critic of Pascal’s emails.

Pascal’s emails leaked after hackers breached Sony’s cyber-security, releasing internal documents, salary details, film budgets and employee information. North Korea is suspected of being involved in the attack as punishment for “The Interview,” a comedy about the assassination of the country’s dictator, Kim Jong-un.

Morial, who was mayor of New Orleans from 1994 to 2002, said he hopes to meet with Pascal again in January to discuss additional ways to promote diversity and stressed that this is not just a Sony problem. Industrywide, African Americans are inadequately represented in the boardroom and the executive suite.

“What we hoped from today’s meeting is that actions speak louder than words,” said Morial. “We are prepared to work with them in the weeks and days and months ahead to deal with the underlying issues…I hope that we can move in an accelerated way around the issue of diversity in Hollywood,mand I feel Amy is committed to that effort.”

Asked to elaborate on some specific ways greater diversity could be achieved both at Sony and on other studio lots, Morial said that working out such details required more discussion and planning.

“Stay tuned,” he said.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 29

Leave a Reply

29 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. John Q says:

    From someone who has actually read the emails.

    No 90-minute meeting is going to change the perverse culture at SPE. Lynton and his lackies will give the appearance and lip-service but nothing will change there without people getting fired. She is a vindictive manipulative person who most of the time can’t even be bothered to run a spell checker on her emails.

    If the email was an isolated incident you might be able to wash that away with apologies but it isn’t. This is systemic racism.

  2. Franco says:

    Amy, Al, and Morial can all go away. A 90 minute “pointed and blunt exchange” won’t change her life time of thinking or a culture that’s been in the industry for decades. It’s laughable!! In spite of the Pascal types in our business, we all have to find a way.

  3. And if Amy said “Maybe Bond, or maybe Fawlty Towers” when visiting the Queen of England? Would that have made them Xenophobic?
    I’m South African and watch Charlize Theron, Arnold Vosloo and Sharlto Copely movies because they’re South African so I have an interest in seeing South African actors.
    Do you think I’d be offended if those names came up if they were visiting me?
    The fact that magazines like Ebony and Black Man and Black Woman exists show that black people in America have interest in media aimed at black people. Amy Pascal makes an assumption that a black President might like black oriented media and that makes her a racist?
    Puh-lease!
    Everybody needs to take a reality pill.
    The (maybe) black baby comment? Black comedians have noticed the trend and used that line as a punchline and it just cracked everybody up. Amy Pascal (maybe) remarks on it and she’s a racist?
    Some more puh-lease..
    Fact is that she’s a high-ranking female exec in a mostly boys-club business and the person that’s green-lit more movies with black actors in leading roles than any other movie exec from any of the studios.
    That is the person that would be fired from the studio if the judgemental media pricks and cry-racist babies get their way. Not the hateful racist people are trying to make her out to be.
    Ironic really:
    She shouldn’t be the one apologizing, the media and witch-hunters should be apologizing.

    • Al says:

      Hey Walter, I’m a Black Man I have have no subscription to Ebony, Black Men or Black Women magazines. I do have a subscription to Variety and the New York Times. That’s why Amy’s statement is so racial. Like you, Amy puts all Black People in a box and assume we’re all the same.

      Have you ever thought that there are some Caucasians and other races that do read Ebony and other publications that cater to the Black Audience in America? Yes there are many of them! I think there is a proper place to express your political affiliation views ( which your statement is ), but this blog I believe is not it.

    • Janice says:

      “Amy Pascal makes an assumption that a black President might like black oriented media and that makes her a racist?
      Puh-lease!
      Everybody needs to take a reality pill.”

      No, that is not what makes her racist, and I’d hope you’d know that. She didn’t say that the president probably likes films that have some black people starring in them. She named specific types of films, as in slave films, as if that would be all a black person would be interested in. Hollywood has this strange notion of what makes for “black entertainment,” which is basically slave and ‘hood movies/projects–and that IS racist. That would be like saying that Nelson Mandela was probably in love with movies on apartheid when he was President just because he’s black. That’s racist. Surely you can understand this reality.

      • No Janice, neither Think like a man nor The Butler are slave movies. The one commonality among all of them are that they mostly star black actors and are directed/produced by black people. She did not say that he would only be interested in those movies, she assumed (I’m assuming) that he would have special interest in those movies because he is black. If we lived in a bubble and there were no outside influences that could be considered racist, but as I said earlier to Al: There is so much media in America (BET,Ebony,Black Golfer,Black Woman, Black Man) that is specifically geared towards black people, that any reasonable person of any other race could easily assume that black people have special interest in issues regarding their own race. (Do they not?)
        If I’m wrong, then so be it, but what you need to understand is how such assumptions can be made by any person without them being racist or having malicious intent.

      • My political affiliation can be determined by what I wrote? That’s a jump and an assumption in one right there. You could almost say that you’re placing me in a box because of one statement I made. Oh wait.. That can’t be right.
        To answer your reply: I never said that all black people only ever read those magazines, or that white people wouldn’t. What I said was that the black people that had the idea to start those publications assumed that other black people would have special interest in issues relating to black people. Amy Pascal basically made the same assumption in the context of movies, and she gets crucified for it.
        Regardless of how many people of different races read these magazines or watch these movies, they were made with a certain demographic in mind: black people. Even the names of the publications are clear indication of that fact.
        So, with her not being black herself, and considering the evidence that points to black people seemingly having special interest in issues relating to their own race, is it really that much of a jump to see how a white woman could think that using a movie whose focus is on an issue mostly relating to black people as a conversation icebreaker is not a racist?

  4. cardmarc58 says:

    I find it interesting that there is not more outrage from the actors as it has been small.

    Makes me think that talking to each other this way is no big deal to them and they are used to it.

    • John Q says:

      Most are not going to air their dirty laundry out for public view. It’s all about the profit in Hollywood.

      For continued supported they will probably squeeze the studio for much better terms. Like Adam Sandler will probably demand a change his deal to continue his relationship. It will be interesting to see when and under what terms Will Smith or DiCaprio or Hart or Jolie work with SPE again. I would bet the farm they will renegotiate their terms for films.

      SPE will always have their “fan boys” who will continue to do business with SPE no matter what comes, Cameron Crowe comes to mind.

    • Janice says:

      It’s more likely, I think, that they all know that they still have to work in that town and that they are still at the mercy of executives.

  5. Mac Reekes says:

    Amy Pascal doesn’t owe an apology to anyone,least of all Al Sharpton.

  6. Mary Burrell says:

    This is a joke.

  7. Bill C says:

    Should have cut this deal with whoever is going to be in charge of Sony in 2015. I’m guessing Pascal’s household and gardening staff are already minorities!

  8. Asif says:

    Even without the stupid race-related comments and the pathetic response to the whole hacking incident, Ms. Pascal should lose her job simply for not greenlighting “Steve Jobs” at a $33 million budget. What a moron! Surefire Oscar nominee…now for Universal.

  9. Marc Huitt says:

    Amusing.

    They’re already looking bad from the total and completely cowardly capitulation over ‘the Interview’.

    So now, to pour more fuel on the idiot fire they got raging there – they go to Al “Race Card!” Sharpton.

    What a bunch of morons that run that place.

  10. AskNot says:

    And what about the “liberal” homosexual producer who disparaged blacks along with Amy? Nothing?

    • Cory says:

      Actually that’s a very good point. Why is she getting all the heat and none towards him?

      • Derrick says:

        True. #1 Men don’t have the same rules. #2. She made comments that if said out loud she would be fired for. Ask any HR rep. #3. She was given the task of cleaning this up. #4. Racist comments is this post are exactly what she did. Sony hasn’t the balls to do anything about anything…

  11. Merlot says:

    Hollywood hypocrisy reigns. Yah, WH must respond to Emails calling Jolie a brat. WH : stfu.

  12. PETER says:

    If Japan wants to fire her, they will. After the holidays. And Al Sharpton is an A-hole! So now Sony’s gonna make more “ethnic” movies. They’ll go out of business. Bring back the old MGM; those Jews, Uncle Louie, etc. weren’t prejudice! Hahahaha!

  13. Jim says:

    Why doesn’t she take naked pics of herself and give them to Kevin Hart so he can post them on his Twitter account!

  14. Jim says:

    They putt the worst picture of her on Variety’s web.

  15. Alex says:

    Sony may fire her ass for getting Sharpton involved.

  16. BLACK MAN says:

    Apology not accepted.

    Fuck Al Sharpton too.

  17. Atomic Fury says:

    Birds of a feather…

  18. Reblogged this on just mediaworks llc and commented:
    Good grief.

More Film News from Variety

Loading