Shonda Rhimes, Al Sharpton Blast ‘Racist’ Sony Emails

Shonda Rhimes, Al Sharpton Blast 'Racist'

“Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes has slammed a controversial email exchange between Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin as “racist.”

Buzzfeed published a story late Thursday containing private notes in which the two joked that President Barack Obama’s favorite movies would star African Americans such as Kevin Hart or might include “Django Unchained” and “The Butler.”

“Calling Sony comments ‘racially insensitive remarks’ instead of ‘racist’?” Rhimes tweeted. “U can put a cherry on a pile of sh*t but it don’t make it a sundae.”

Rhimes isn’t the only public figure weighing in on the controversy. Reverend Al Sharpton likened the remarks to a series of racist comments made by former LA Clippers Donald Sterling in 2013.

“These emails nominate Amy Pascal to be considered by some of us in the same light that we concluded and moved on the ownership of Donald Sterling of the L.A. Clippers,” said Sharpton.

He said the comments should inspire an industrywide discussion: “The statements clearly show how comfortable major studio powers are with racial language and marginalization. Her apology is not enough; there must be moves by her studio and others to respect the African American community and reflect that respect in their hiring and business practices.”

Pascal apologized for the remarks in a statement Thursday, saying, “The content of my emails were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am.” Rudin also apologized for the remarks to a Deadline reporter.

Sony did not comment on Rhimes’ and Sharpton’s statements. Pascal has been an active supporter of Obama in the past, donating to his presidential campaign.

The email exchange became public as part of a massive hack attack that has also exposed confidential studio documents, film budgets and executive salaries. A group calling itself Guardians of Peace has taken credit for the security breach, and there is some evidence that hackers may have been working in conjunction with North Korea. The Asian country is angry about the release of “The Interview,” an upcoming Sony film about an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un.

In addition to the emails about Obama, exchanges have leaked in which Sony exec Clint Culpepper  called Kevin Hart a “whore”  for asking for more money to promote “Think Like a Man Too” on Twitter. The actor made $3 million on the film.

“Knowing your self worth is extremely important people,” Hart wrote Thursday. “I worked very hard to get where I am today. I look at myself as a brand and because of that I will never allow myself to be taking advantage of. I OWN MY BRAND…I MAKE SMART DECISIONS FOR MY BRAND….I PROTECT MY BRAND….which is why I’m able to brush ignorance off of my shoulder and continue to move forward. I refuse to be broken people…with that being said its now time for me to get back to building this empire that I’ve always dreamed of!!!!”

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  1. Mike says:

    Elitists progressives got the system down. All you need to do forgiveness for being a racist is to kiss Rev. Al Racebaiter’s ring and give him some kickback money and all is good!

  2. tarodgers says:

    “TACKY…CLASSLESS…DISRESPECTFULLLLLL!!!!, The lack of intelligence is pitiful and astounding..They were invited to be present at an event with “PRESIDENT OBAMA”. They truly represent the old saying.”Money may buy power, but not CLASS or COMMON SENSE”. They turned the”HONOR” into a “PR”NIGHTMARE”….Wake up SONY,,someone’s sleeping,,,,,,,,,

  3. Mari Singh says:

    It is a common perception that African-Americans pull the race card when it is totally unwarranted or unmerited … These emails allow us to be a fly-on-the-wall, and to observe just what white people really think about blacks. Keeping in mind that any racially insensitive comments that were made in these emails are comparably tame – considering that these Hollywood Bigwigs masquerade as liberals. If this is what so-called-bleeding-heart liberals think of blacks, just imagine what openly conservative executives are thinking (and saying) behind closed doors? If whites believe that the depth and scope of President Obama’s entertainment and intelligence perimeters is limited to cinema centered on slavery and the black experience, what does that say about their perception of blacks in general? This is President Obama that these comments were made about…PRESIDENT OBAMA – for goodness sakes. Is there any wonder why highly qualified African-Americans are not hired in high-level, decision-making executive positions…? It is disgusting. The reality is that approximately 90 percent of the time when an African-American charges a white person with racism it is based on fact – not fiction. The race card is pulled and justifiably so.

  4. playrighter says:

    Point taken: we DO need to have a real conversation here, but it’s nationwide, not just industry-wide.

    When black entertainers can make endless jokes about whites, why is it “racist” for a white person to make a statement based on historical fact? We keep hearing about how Mr. Obama took Michelle to “Do the Right Thing” for their first date, how he screens at the White House movies like “The Butler”, “Lincoln” and “12 Years a Slave”, and how he and Michelle repeatedly attend black-themed theater. It appears these “offensive” comments were simply accurate assessments of historical fact.

    What is unfair, untrue, or “racist” about the comments made? This inquiring mind really wants to know.

    • equalopportunity says:

      I agree, white people are serial killers, shoot up schools and love fried chicken. Thats not racist thats the truth.Statistics back it up.

  5. Jacko says:

    I’d love to see Shonda’s private e-mails. Because I’m sure SHE’S never said anything bad about anyone.

  6. contenders says:

    You racist white folks are just shameless ,ingronant ,blame the president to deflect from your shortcomings!

  7. JAFO says:

    Julienne, Please RE-READ the article again, this time with your eyes open,,,perhaps this time you will be able to see yourself in the article!

    • Julienne says:

      You’re right JAFO. I re-read the article…and I think the emails going back and forth between Amy and Scott reveal the obvious “new-understanding” here in Hollywood, that the rest of the country already feels…that the Prez is ALWAYS & CONSTANTLY complaining about the “Black-Plight” in 2014, while ignoring the real issue of black-on-black crime and murders, he’s turned a blind-eye too.

      Amy & Scott appear to subconsciously realize how racist the Prez is. Like race-baiters A-Sharpton & Jesse Jax.

      Because they are CONSTANTLY trying to recreate racism every chance they get. They attack our Police Forces saying it’s their fault for every death of a criminal, without knowing the facts of a case…they attack our Military…our CIA…they are all anti-authority…and racists….Hardcore Libs.

  8. Truth says:

    It is true those comments were racist and its very strange that Sony would make such comments when they have profited hugely from a number of prominent Black celebrities. I am astounded and I am sure President Obama is quite shocked by these kind of email comments. Why would anyone say such things? Regarding Sony I was promised a budget provision from Think Like A Man 2 for a movie I have in development and I still haven’t received it yet. They made $65m dollars and then Sony further ripped me off instead of giving me the budget they stole the project and didn’t pay me nothing

  9. Jacques Strappe says:

    I love how so many of the commenters assume these two white people in powerful entertainment business positions in Hollywood are liberals. More of the studio power brokers are conservative Republicans which explains the KKK mindset of these two racist losers. Appears to be like minded racist readers of Variety since most are defending Pascal and Rudin while trashing a very successful black female television creator, Shonda Rhimes, for commenting. Apparently, successful black women have no right to comment here on Pascal and Rudin’s offensive email exchange.

  10. frosty says:

    This is an outrage, Amy Pascal should be forced to sell her basketball team…

  11. sr says:

    She should shut up. When she sits in company with the likes of Al Sharpton, enough said. Whatever happened to free speech? Shonda’s shows are beginning to look more and more like BET shows on prime time. Who’s the racist? She is pathetic in her criticism. Frankly, she should keep her opinions to herself. Won’t be surprised if she somehow brings all of this hate to one of her shows. Perhaps it’s time for all the whites to boycott her shows?

    • Jesse says:

      Two of her shows happen to have black people in leading roles and her shows “are beginning to look more and more like BET?” REALLY?! You’re asking whatever happened to free speech (which doesn’t even apply here; it is commercial speech) in free speech in one sentence and in another you’re saying she should shut up. What about HER right to free speech? You’re pathetic.

    • Christine says:

      yeah because she has shows with black leads, she is racist and her shows look like BET shows. You are the definition of a racist idiot. Your comments are beyond pointless and you should actually study the definition of racism before you talk out of your ignorant ass.

    • Charles G says:

      Hey sr, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” Lincoln A. Congrats on outing yourself as a fool. You and that racist Amy Pascal seem to have a lot in common.

    • Rhonda Robinson says:

      …and when you speak freely, be prepared for the consequences they bring.

  12. Fearless Bystander says:

    Liberals are truthful people; they never speak well of each other.

  13. phyllis says:

    Extremely disappointed, Sony We respect as a Professional production Company, But when ignorance starts from the Top down, It makes Me Sad.

    • Michael Anthony says:

      Ever share things in PERSONAL emails or letters of s private nature? If so, you are no better than them. Sure, what they said was wrong. But, it was private correspondence, never meant to be made public. If your accounts were hacked, or anyone else’s, you would not want private conversations to be made public. Or, would you??

  14. Jack Turner says:

    A letter to the management of SONY in Tokio:

    Are you aware of the public image damage Ms. Pascal and Mr. Rudin cause you ?

    How would Scott Rudin, a proud gay man, feel if someone made a joke about his sexuality?

    How would Amy Pascal feel, if someone made a joke about her being a woman ?

    These bigots would start to cry and call the PC police because of ‘misogyny’ or ‘gay bashing’.

    So please stop to look for cheap apologies here.

    Make this people pay for what they said: They are an embarrassment and Pascal should

    leave Sony before she damages the brand further. And the company should cut ties with Scott Rudin

    and don’t produce his projects anymore. Scott Rudin not only made jokes about colored people,

    he makes jokes about mentally ill people, too: He called Megan Ellison a ‘bipolar lunatic’ that needed

    to take her ‘meds’. Is there any minority group that Mr. Rudin respects ? Mr. Rudin can now produce as

    many ‘humanistic’ and ‘heart-warming’ films as he likes, nobody will buy it anymore.

    His emails showed the public a ruthless, brutal, cynical, deeply troubled man full of contempt for

    everybody except himself.

    This won’t be forgotten soon by the public.

    Books will be written about this.

    Especially Pascal behaved in an irresponsible and unprofessional manner.

    She has to represent a COMPANY.

    She can’t write nasty little letters like a small schoolgirl and mail it around.

    If this woman is incapable of understanding this, you better get rid of her.

    Amy Pascal already showed that she’s incompetent:

    -No company cyber security

    -Produced a very troubling movie, seemingly offensive to a whole nation

    How much more damage do you want Ms. Pascal to cause ?

    Every responsible management would fire this people ASAP.

    • karena2525 says:

      are you kidding? People make jokes about women ALLLLLLL the time! Ever tell a blonde joke? OMG. We would have no humor, no comedians at ALL if we listened to this because almost all humor makes fun of something! Think about that!

  15. Mike Madson says:

    When will Al Sharpton apologize for all his racist comments towards Whites???

  16. Tim says:

    Could someone please instruct Rhimes how to speak proper English. Everyone else is expected too.

  17. Tom Jones says:

    My Sony Handycam is amazing. I can project on a wall. As long as Sony makes stuff like that I’m all in. PS. Asians are growing in population faster than African -Americans.

  18. abdala3 says:

    There is a sad lesson to learn here, for our black community. These 2 people who seemingly are the 1%, these ‘liberal elitists’, the types who pretend to care about minorities, etc., in this situation you can see their true character. One of them said ‘this is not who I am’. But we know who they are.
    They are users who say anything to get what they want and then, amongst themselves, when the façade is gone, their truth comes out.
    I agree re do not support Sony in any way, do not buy their products. They only learn when you hit them where it hurts, in the pocketbooks.

  19. Willow says:

    What Rudin said was insensitive, but he made no racial slurs or saying anything extremely offensive like you did. You are the hypocrite here.

    • Chopping Down Trees says:

      Nah. Willow is pretty ignorant. Stroll up. I think she hates herself. It’s either his comments are bad or they aren’t. In some languages gray areas aren’t allowed. You’re the hypocrite but Rudin isn’t such a bad guy, LOL!

    • Don't Worry About It says:

      @Willow why are you playing so fucking dumb?
      I know that you don’t believe the shit that you just said.

      • matthew2818 says:

        @karena2525 Don’t make generalizations about “smart minorities getting a free ride.” Many minorities has paid their way too. So you paid to go to school? So did I. There is white privilege. See the stories in the New York Times about the two girls, one white and one black who wrote on the walls and received different sentences or the seminaries students protesting in NY also being treated differently. What about the white delinquent who is given the opportunity to go to the army and the AA to jail?

        The bottom-line for me if Amy and Scott are professionals. If they are thinking about the president, what are they thinking about common folks?

  20. Frank says:

    This why we as Blacks and people of other races who believe this country is unjust in it’s racial make up should not support Sony Corporation until they change personnel and policies. No wonder blacks cannot get jobs. There was a comment that they could not understand because Rubin is Gay. There are plenty of racist Gays. but the thing we must do is not purchase Sony’s products or go to their movies until they change. The only thing they fear is loss of revenue.

    • laqueesha says:

      Most of them cant afford Sony anyway, its not like thats who was making Sony a success, just like it wasnt the blacks that put obola in power, it took the white vote to do that…

  21. That flapping and clucking sound ? Your chickens are coming home to roost, Liberal Hollywood elitists. Rest assured, the leaked emails are probably par for the hypocritical course

  22. Alex says:

    #GOP gave Sharpton another pretty gift to put under his tree, I’m sure ole’ Al will bring this up at the party he’s throwing in D.C. on Saturday.

  23. bardakan says:

    Yea cause I’m sure al sharpton never made rasist comments about white people I understand being upset and angry b/c of past atrocities but when does it end my family came to america on a boat in the 70’s never owned a slave have been and still are poor but have to deal with being the white devil every day I ride public transportation and never heard any white people drop an n- bomb but have heard some ofthe most rasist remarks come out of aAfrican Americans mouths you hate rasist remarks but teach your children to hate whitey so I ask were does it end.

    • Mr. Walker says:

      Social diversity and higher education is so important! It affords you the opportunity to learn more about the world around you including why blacks were and continue to be profiled and mistreated. Take you for example… It seems very clear from your poor writing skills and numerous spelling errors that you lack a college education. You are one person who would benefit from the opportunity for higher understanding and to improve your quality of life.

  24. Drew says:

    I’m all for being racially sensitive, but this was done IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR EMAILS. It’s getting to be that we are developing a thought police. People are allowed to have bad thoughts as long as they don’t act on them. I hate these oversensitive ninnies, and I especially HATE Al Sharpton and his greedy ass. We should all have the right to think and text and mail whatever the fuck we want…it should be no one’s business. It’s the same thing with Donald Sterling; what he said was WRONG but it was in his private conversation. Are we really reporting on private conversations?

    • Frank says:

      One blogger says that things said in private should be off limits, well if your private conversations become public you still should suffer the consequences. My father told me many years ago. You can do what ever you want to do as long as you are willing to deal with the consequences. If what this blogger says is true then he is saying that as long as a child molester is doing what they do in private it is alright since he is doing it in private. What nonsense does he what us to believe in. Lots of bad things are done in private but when they come to light their should be penalties

  25. Willow says:

    The fact that Rhimes and Sharpton are complaining speaks volumes. Rhimes has a mental breakdown on twitter at least two times a month and Sharpton only shows up to fan the flames of racial animosity and divide. Were those comments racially insensitive? Yes, but guess what? Those are the types of things any comedian, especially black, might say and nobody would bat an eyelash.

    • Don't Worry About It says:

      Really? Nobody will bat an eyelash? I guess when Tracy Morgan made a gay comment that he didn’t get backlash either.I think Tracy Morgan is black am I correct?
      Some white people like yourself always try to justify their comments and can never back it up with any proof….lol
      let me predict your reply, that was pretty racist of you to say…….lol.

      • Willow says:

        Tracy said he would kill his son if he turned out be gay in a poorly constructed joke. But he did not face even half the amount of backlash that say… Paula Deen was met with for just admitting she had used a racial slur. He kept his job, he wasn’t blacklisted or treated like a homophobic jerk.

        I only pointed out that the nature of their conversation was just a case of being racially insensitive with bad jokes. It was nowhere near the level that Donald Sterling’s racist rants were. If there is more proof that these two are actually racist, then by all means, call them racist and fire them. But saying that a black person would only like black-lead movies is not even as offensive as when a black SNL writer said she wanted to be a slave because she’d have an easier time finding a man that way.

  26. No Thanks says:

    What’s with Kevin Hart and his ‘Empire Speak’; so essentially he’s endorsing the cited emails by reminding us of what a moronic, greedy dummy he is. I guess he looks at Dr. Dre (sp?), and figures he too should be a billionaire: no you shouldn’t! You should get off your hypocritical ass, come down to Skid Row (L.A.); and do some stand up (we’ll pitch a tent for you). No pay, but much love and respect; and when I talk to these brothers (surely you’ve heard of ‘White Boy’; he was in an L.A. Times article recently); they don’t give damn what Pascal. etc., says about race- they didn’t care either with respect to the noise on Sterling and his Clippers (I asked around as I’m a curious cat). You’re right, you are a brand who will do anything (exploit his own people), to put a few more dollars in his pocket. You might be a funny guy; but I’m a screenwriter and I look at the stuff you do and all I see is an Uncle Tom- you’re nothing. What are you? You’re a guy who wants to be paid to write 140 characters… that’s a pretty dumb, selfish sort not giving back, not counting his blessings. You inspire racism (way to go); it pays your bills.

    • Don't Worry About It says:

      Another broke ass screen writer that didn’t make it in Hollywood….. Lol bitter much? How does Kevin inspire Racism? I swear there are some bonified idiots in this country. I totally see why none of your work has made it.
      Complete idiot….. Lol

  27. Lisa says:

    So why hasn’t Rudin apologized for his remarks about the women he insulted, such as Ellison and Jolie, as well as putting down the role of female historical figure Cleopatra herself?
    I can’t believe such crude characters are running the show. Disgusting.

  28. John Shea says:

    Some people don’t recognize the problem with crying ‘WOLF!’ until the real wolf attacks.

  29. Arnie Tracey says:

    Clint is an ass. Period. End of story. Soon he’ll be working for food on an off-ramp.

    Shonda is on the mark.

    And it sounds like Amy made a Michael Richards’ recipe “sh*t pie” right out of “The Help.”

  30. Davyjc says:

    Whether or not they like joking about blacks, Jews, gays or whomever in emails is none of my business. We all say insensitive things with our friends and co-workers, at home, on the phone and in email. People can say whatever that want in private emails. The crime is the hacking.

    What people say (or joke about) and what people do are two very different things. Pascal gives money to Obama and his causes. A lot of executives give money. Rudin probably does as well. They are clearly not racists and their actions in the fundraising realm proves it.

    But in this embarrassing situation it is also clear while working for a public company that makes decisions on creative entertainment everyday they have a bias. And now the world can sense their conscious and subconscious bias. It’s in the open. Maybe this is a wake a call for them. Don’t apologize. Be better.

  31. nimportequoi says:

    I agree with Shonda 100%…Amy’s and Rudin’s racist and ludicrous emails should not be tolerated. They must be reprimanded as Sterling was. She should be fired as she has violated the civil rights act.

  32. Barney Crush says:

    Rhimes is demanding that Sony respect African Americans…ok…but, when you demand rather than earn, all you are going to get is feigned respect.

    • Lia M. says:

      So now black people have to earn respect. Listen, they earned it when this country forced them to help build it for free. Now go back to kicking rocks. I mean some of you people would never say this stuff in public. I wish anonymity on the net was over. Be who you are and suffer the consequences for your words. That’s how it works.

      As to this being a private conversation. Let’s not forget emailed on corporate email. If I were an investor I would be pissed these people are using compaby emails to vent and air their ignorance. Obama didn’t have anything to do with Sony. Ms. Pascal should’ve sent that email from her private account. I think she’s bad for Sony and should be fired. Not just for what’s already been leaked but will be. This isn’t over. I doubt they’ll give into the pressure. No one deserved to be hacked but no one was bitching this hard when Snowden leaked government secrets so……..

      • Willow says:

        No person deserves respect based on their race, gender, age, etc. Everyone deserves the chance to prove they are worthy of that respect as an individual.

  33. Petra says:

    Yawn, all I see is two blowhards wanting some more attention

  34. Michael Anthony says:

    Email should be treated as regular email. Shonda and Al probably take liberties with words in private mail exchanges. Yes, they’re idiots for saying racist garbage, but it was a private exchange. If Shonda and All care to share all their angelic private emails????

  35. FM Talks says:

    Um.. Amy Pascal.. Sweetums, your comments show us EXACTLY who and what you are!

  36. terry says:

    What if they are Obama’s favorite movies—- for real??

  37. Oscar the grouch says:

    Of course Kevin Hart deserves extra millions for helping publicize his own movie and by extension “his brand.” (Sarcasm). actors ARE whores and agents are their pimps.

  38. David says:

    Yeah, it’s very racist to speculate that a black person might like movies that are made for black people. And I’m sure black people never say anything regarding other races in their private conversations.

    • Storm says:

      Man, I wish people would get it. Stop acting like they don’t. Like white privaledge doesn’t exist. Like minorities in this business get the same shake as our white counterparts. Let’s just stop acting, that’s all I’m saying. It’s just disheartening to know that when you walk through the door for a pitch, interview, whatever… that they’ve already summed you up based upon skin color. Not talent. Color and perception. Ask Obama if he liked Django?! Or 12 Years A Slave?! I’m just sayin’, don’t insult us by thinking we don’t know context… Don’t want to argue, just want folks to acknowledge and own that shit!

      • Julienne says:

        Forced Equal Opportunity (a.k.a. hire blacks even if they’re not qualified) has totally made white males the minority in most businesses per the BBB Stats.

      • karena2525 says:

        blacks make up about 14% of the US population. So if there are more whites in movies? Getting jobs? Getting something? yes maybe. But maybe that’s a percentage thing not a racist thing.
        As a person going broke and slaving away to putting a smart white kid through college (while watching his equally smart minority friends all get free rides via full scholarships)… I’m here to tell you that not ALL white people feel privileged.
        It’s a numbers game. There are plenty of all races who have to sweat it out for an opportunity – if they even get them. Being one of those non-privileged – regular – guys, it gets hard to hear comments like this. This assumption that “I” get more just because I’m white. Personally – I find the assumption that I or my son got more because of color to be VERY racist. Think about it.

      • Name says:

        @Storm Sorry to disappoint you but White Privledge doesn’t exist, it never did. Keep believeing everything you hear without question, it’s why the Democratic party still exist.

      • Dee says:

        ^^^ and he still doesn’t get it. Smh

      • Sane Jane says:

        @Storm, your comment made perfect sense to me. The problem is as you said, people won’t acknowledge or own their s****

      • Willow says:

        You might want to figure out what you’re trying to say before you say it because your comment makes little-to-no sense.

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