Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton and co-chair Amy Pascal told employees Monday that the cyber-security breach that exposed personal information and internal documents was a “criminal attack” that has challenged the studio but would not be its undoing.
“This will not take us down,” said Lynton. “You should not be worried about the future of this studio.”
He added that he was angry about the situation and sorry that staffers had their personal information and medical records dumped on the internet. Employees applauded Lynton’s remarks.
The hackers unfairly targeted Sony’s business and its staff, the studio chiefs argued, and stressed that “innocent people” are the victims of the assault. Employees gathered in two groups on Sony’s Culver City, Calif., lot — the first presentation kicked off at 12:30 p.m. and the second one followed at approximately 1 p.m.
The attacks have exposed film budgets and scripts, private emails and salary breakdowns. Stolen information has also included the social security numbers of thousands of past and present Sony staffers. They’ve also exposed Pascal to public scrutiny after the studio chief made a series of racially charged jokes about President Barack Obama’s taste in movies with producer Scott Rudin. Both have apologized.
North Korea is suspected of being involved in the attack in retaliation for the upcoming Sony release “The Interview.” The Seth Rogen comedy centers on an assassination attempt on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Lynton discussed the studio’s decision to greenlight the picture, saying the film was a comedy, not a political statement.
Staffers in New York and elsewhere were supposed to attend the meeting via simulcast, but there were technical issues. The sessions lasted roughly 20 minutes. The studio heads did not take questions from the audience.