Sony Pictures CEO at Town Hall Meeting: ‘This Will Not Take Us Down’

Michael Lynton Sony
Eric Thayer/Getty Images

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.

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  1. Mr. Strong says:


  2. preuser says:

    At a few corporations I worked for e mail is spot checked by auditors and employees are informed of this in corporate e mail use policies that strictly forbid non business and inappropriate e mails on corporate e mail accounts and further state that an employee can be disciplined up to and including dismissal for for these things and the auditors or HR didn,t protect or exempt the execs either .

  3. preuser says:

    Amy Pascal’s Michael Lynton, and maybe some other folks at Sony pictures stupidity goes beyond the pale and now she’s sucking up to AL Sharpton of all people !

    Maybe making a disparaging and provocative comedy picture about a current living dictator getting assassinated was not such a smart move on Sony’s part Some times it’s not a good idea to tease an angry dog . This may cost Sony half a billion before it’s done not to mention loosing face.

    Maybe Sony CEO Hirai Kazu should have Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton ,maybe some others fired for making Sony loose face since they won’t do the right thing and resign or hari kari !,

    OTOH leaving password files in a virtually unprotected folder named passwords isn’t very smart either .
    So the CIO and maybe some other iT folks should probably go also .

    ofc with such low hanging fruit security wise it’s very likely Sony would have been hacked by some one(s) anyway !

  4. bandapart says:

    As someone who used to ‘pitch’ studios, production companies, and agencies for half a decade and left Los Angeles years ago with fantastic unproduced scripts in my possession, what’s missing in the comments section here is that all of these leaks reveal what I already learned from my ‘meetings’, and that is that Hollywood is an connected, amateur profession. It’s well beyond sexist and racist – worse, it’s amateurish. The level of discourse from these imbecilic executives is shocking – by the way, good luck getting anywhere near the Scott Rudins or Amy Pascals to pitch projects with no attachments if you aren’t in this proverbial connected ‘loop’ as well. All that these leaked emails remind me that 1. we can see clearly why current studio films are atrocious and 2. that anyone could do their jobs. I’m so glad that I left this business behind – oh and you know that none of these people will ever get fired, right?

  5. honkeygirl says:

    Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin are nothing more than your typical studio executive who missed the memo on not WRITING typical industry talk down where it could be used as evidence. Hollywood is full of executives who discriminate against the non-Jewish. The strange part is the “support” for anit-discrimination by people who are clearly clannish and discriminatory. Their mistake was allowing the light to be turned on and expose these HIGH SCHOOL MEAN GIRLS AND BOYS for who they really are. They are racists who can rationalize that they are not racists because they are Democrats. Watching the roaches scatter right over to old rabble rouser Sharpton when the light was turned on was the best enterntainment they’ve produced all year. Bwahaha….what hypocrisy.

  6. Julienne says:

    It already has. The second Amy turned to “Race-Baiter,” Sharpton, you lost 3/4’s of the American Public’s support.

  7. “This?!?” You took yourselves down, with your terrible choices, to invite the worst of the internet upon you. They were hurting and made dumb choices, like banking on controversy to promote this awful mess of a film disguised as smart satire.

  8. Summer thomas says:

    There are many ready to boycott Sony unless Amy is fired. Don’t support racism and those lame after the fact excuses “it’s not who I am”. It’s exactly who you are. Amy disgusts me by demeaning the President of the United States and I wonder how Michael Lyndon truly feels since his wife and family were instrumental in getting Obama in office. Fire amy!!!!

  9. Summer thomas says:

    Amy must step down. Those comments were all too telling

  10. Drake L.A. says:

    can you really call it a terrorist “attack” if the terrorists are destroying something that sucked to begin with? I’m all for the exposure of Amy Pascal and the toxic culture in Hollywood.

  11. Name says:

    I’m certain all of this will be blamed on piracy at some point.

    Think of the poor, poor multi-billion dollar corporations!!! *cry*

  12. Christopher says:

    Rudin and Pascal need to be terminated. It is common sense to know that you should never email anything you cannot be willing to stand by in person. I’m pretty sure they have broken their own company code of conduct in such a way that there are grounds for termination. I’m pretty sure that if one of their subordinates did something like this they would have been fired the day after it leaked. If these two individuals are so stupid and cowardly that they would conduct themselves in this way; they are a liability and should summarily dismissed.

  13. Robert Smith says:

    I can’t believe the government is hacking Sony again. George Washington would be ashamed of this country.

  14. It’s going to take more than studio exec bravado to navigate this mess. The Pascal emails show a culture that supports racism and sexism, and the pay gaps that come with each. The fact that their I.T. department still can’t get operational for a simple video conference also points to STILL horrible technical management.

    No, this will not take a megacorporation down (even if it SHOULD), but their talent pool has just shrunken considerably, their plans to abuse artists to FORCE them into playing roles is sickening (who wants to bully BILL MURRAY???), and they can’t simply secure their own employees information, which the hackers are now saying will NOT be released in full anyways.

    The hackers are starting to look more ethical than Sony in my eyes, and the empty threats to the media to not report on this data is NOT helping Sony’s image AT ALL. Lying about Amazon using a DDoS attack was the lamest step yet.

    If Sony was properly monitoring their own data systems and following good HR practices, they would have found out Pascal was sending racially charged emails and straightened that out BEFORE any data leak. Now it’s a problem ONLY because it’s in the public eye. Did she apologize for making fun of Will Smith’s children? This is a GROWN woman saying all this crap, and she thinks she still deserves her job? If she TRULY cared about the assets of the company at all, she would admit to her shortcomings and STEP DOWN.

    This is the wikileaks of the entertainment industry. I’m more excited to see what the hackers are giving us for xmas than Sony. We’ve all had enough uneducated opinions on “other cultures” (looking at YOU and your bad movie Seth Rogen). Let’s see what a-holes American Entertainment Execs can be!

    • Dex says:

      “It’s going to take more than studio exec bravado to navigate this mess. The Pascal emails show a culture that supports racism and sexism, and the pay gaps that come with each. ”

      Spot-on and given those revelations, it’ll be interesting to see whether the talent that was trashed–and even those who weren’t–continue working with this studio.

  15. Mari Singh says:

    I have a simple six-figure job with seventeen subordinate reports. I’m not leading, directing and guiding a mega-billion dollar corporation with thousands of employees; and yet, I have the good sense not to put anything in writing that is NOT for public consumption… Even when corresponding with personal friends via text or email, I am always cognizant of possible consequences and repercussions. It’s sad that we always have to be so guarded, but with the advent of today’s technology – and the ease in which information is transmitted and dispersed over the worldwide web – every word has to be measured. Today, we have to be masters of our own brand image, and we have to be on our toes at all times to safeguard our image and to make sure that it is not tarnished. IT’S THE SIGN OF THE TIMES…

  16. equipmentguy says:

    Fair enough Michael Lynton you may be safe because I haven’t heard much about inflamatory emails from you. Maybe your one of the smart ones who uses the phone for certain conversations (good move if you are). But I do think Amy Pascal is going down eventually. Maybe not tomorrow or next week but very soon. The town is smiling with clenched teeth that this is not a big deal but do you really think these actors/actresses & agents would work with Sony after being bad mouthed like this. Especially if they can go somewhere else to hang their shingle/production deal. Granted it’s all about the money but if enough talent hesitates working with Sony then it’s a simple move. Fire Pascal and get the talent back into the studio. After all people don’t run out to see the latest “Amy Pascal” movie but the latest “fill in the blank of an A-list name that got trashed by Amy Pascal”.

    • preuser says:

      I agree. I was in a management positions at fortune 50 and fortune 100 companies for many years
      At some companies we were ofc trained by HR and advised by auditors about these things and attended required diversity and HR training . Most of us were very careful to stick to business and the facts and not e mail anything compromising .

      You think maybe Sony E. and Pictures will be having compulsory diversityand HR training anytime soon ? ☺

  17. DorothyParkerlite says:

    I guess SONY doesn’t care about the content of the emails, just that they were hacked. So I guess everyone there is OK with inappropriate behavior and intolerant attitudes? Wow, that’s an eye-opener (sarcasm heavily dripping from every letter)

  18. jhs39 says:

    Flops might be a bigger problem for the studio heads than the leaks. The Annie update looks like it will not do well and The Interview is getting much weaker reviews than This is the End or Neighbors. Some Sony stockholders have been clamoring for the firing of Amy Pascal and her lieutenants since the summer of 2013 when Sony released After Earth, White House Down, Elysium and Smurfs 2. Since then Sony has only had one big box office hit–22 Jump Street. Even their latest Spiderman film was considered a big enough disappointment that it might have damaged the franchise and its planned spin-off films. Pascal really needs some hits if she wants to keep her job for much longer.

  19. Joe The Producer says:

    Hope it was worth Rogen and Franco’s masturbatory project.

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