Amy Pascal Talks Getting ‘Fired,’ Sony Hack and Angelina Jolie Emails in Candid Interview

Six days after stepping down as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Amy Pascal broke her silence on Wednesday at the Women in the World conference in San Francisco during a candid interview with journalist Tina Brown.

“All the women here are doing incredible things in this world. All I did was get fired,” she said, according to the Recode site.

Among the topics discussed were the hacked emails between herself and producer Scott Rudin, the poor reviews for “The Interview” and Hollywood’s pervasive gender gap.

Pascal recounted the moment in November when she realized that her emails at Sony would be exposed.

“I ran this company and I had to worry about everybody who was really scared…People were really scared…But nagging in the back of my mind, I kept calling (the IT department) and being like, ‘They don’t have our emails, tell me they don’t have our emails,’” she said. “But then they did. That was a bad moment. And you know what you write in emails.”

Right off the bat, Brown queried Pascal on the racial emails between her and producer Scott Rudin about President Obama, causing the 56-year-old exec to shake her head.

“It was horrible. That was horrible,” Pascal said. “As a woman, what I did was control how everybody felt about themselves and about me…and there was this horrible moment when I realized there was absolutely nothing I could do about whether I’d hurt people, whether I’d betrayed people.”

Pascal also said, “There is nothing you can do. You can’t say anything. You can’t explain anything. It’s just there.”

As for her exchanges on Jolie, who Rudin called a “minimally talented spoiled brat,” she said: “Angie didn’t care.”

“Everybody understood because we all live in this weird thing called Hollywood,” she said. “If we were all actually were nice, it wouldn’t work.”

When asked about paying Jennifer Lawrence less than her male co-stars in “American Hustle,” Pascal scoffed.

“I’ve paid (Lawrence) a lot more money since then, I promise you…Here’s the problem: I run a business. People want to work for less money, I pay them less money…Women shouldn’t be so grateful. Know what you’re worth. Walk away.”

Brown later said that “The Interview” was a pretty bad movie, to which Pascal replied, “You don’t get to choose what you stand up for.”

This past week, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a partnership to make new Spider-Man movies with Marvel Studios, which Pascal will produce as part of her new studio deal with Sony.

“The worst thing you can do is be on the sideline,” she said.

The studio also recently announced an all-female “Ghostbusters” reboot with Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy.

“It’s about time we have a female action series,” Pascal declared.

As for the most important thing she learned from the hacked emails? “Say exactly what you think directly to people all the time,” she said. “In the moment, the first time.”

When Brown countered that Hollywood stars were sensitive than most people, Pascal snickered.

“They’re bottomless pits of need. You’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. Then added sarcastically: “They are so great. They’re this magical thing that no one else can be. They’re filled with the need to be loved … but that’s because they’re magical.”

The executive also had harsh words for the press when asked if she was surprised about the reaction to her emails.

“I’m not supposed to say anything about that,” she said. “But I will say that I was. People found reasons that going through my trash and printing it was an ok thing to do. They found a way to justify that. And they have to live with that.”

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  1. If Sony executives had sent their emails using ChiaraMail, they would have been able to change them afterward; rewrite history, so to speak. And they could have prevented the spoof that resultedin the hack.

  2. anon says:


  3. sam says:

    Apparently she hasn’t learned anything from all of this.

  4. pLokTa says:

    Worst interview ever conducted and is she on drugs?
    She’s from Hollywood and she can’t even do a decent make-up on herself?
    Also “You don’t get to choose what you stand up for.” – what the heck? Yes, you do get to choose what you stand up for.
    Apparently, this interview is a way to rehabilitate her image – not that she needs it – she’s got a golden parachute in which case, she really doesn’t care about her other employees – she’s got it made unless the hackers decide to hit her again for making this turd of an interview.

  5. At first I felt sorry for her, because who of us could survive a public airing of our private emails? But the more she talks, the more of an idiot she reveals herself to be. Who is her PR person and why are they allowing her to speak at events such as this? She seriously needs to shut up and stay out of sight.

    • sam says:

      Smart people watch what they say in emails just because they may come back to haunt you.

    • Jerry says:

      Yeah, she seems like an awful person and I can’t believe she was in such a place of power in Hollywood.

      She seems dumb as well, but maybe that’s just the way she speaks.

  6. henry Deas says:

    This is a great story. Simple and honest. However, The Interview was hilarious Could not stop laughing throughout the movie. Maybe the name should have been changed, but the story is hilarious

  7. Jack Henry says:

    That was hard to watch.

  8. JT says:

    Like most people at Sony, I loved working with Amy. She dug deep to deliver for the company and did what she could in her position to affect social change, particularly with respect to women. She’s admitted to making mistakes and is doing what she can to atone for them. I wish her well.

  9. She appears heavily medicated or stoned out of her mind. No wonder women get bashed in Hollywood as executives. She should have pulled it together for this interview. Comb your hair, wash your face, and get on with it!

  10. Bill B. says:

    For someone who strongly dislikes most stupid American comedies, I don’t know how, what or why, but much to my shock, I thought a lot of The interview was funny. I am ashamed.

  11. Joe says:

    Actually, I DO get to choose what I stand up for.

  12. Tobey says:

    “…to which Pascal replied, ‘you don’t get to choose what you you stand up for.'”
    Yes, yes you do.

  13. Sam Brees says:

    Idk, I kinda believe her when she says Angie doesn’t care. Angelina has been part of Hollywood for a long time and seems to have very thick skin. Angie probably understands that not all of Hollywood thinks she is a “great” actor, but it doesn’t matter to her. She does her work as best she can and gets paid very well to do it. Also, Angie seems to be a very self-assured person and comments from one Exec would not damage her.

    As for the picture, you can probably catch a still shot to reflect any narrative. If the photographer wanted a shot that displayed the 2 women happy with each other he could have captured that image too. A photo is one moment in time, but does not necessisarily reflect the essence of that moment

  14. facts says:

    “Angelina doesn’t care” is basically like repeatedly the same arrogant behavior all over again. The photo of the two of them shows she cares. And sure, it’s Hollywood and everyone trash-talks, and Pascal took the hit for Sony, etc. But it’s still a really tone-deaf comment.

  15. James says:

    Interesting that the comments talk about Angelina caring. But the needy person from her e-mails was Clooney. Funny that no one picks that up. His e-mails were so needy, I could feel her stroking his ego about his crappy movie. And the infamous “stare down” was followed by a hug between the two women, but somehow that photo was not published. (From another article in a different trade magazine). Women against women is much juicer that a needy, whiny man..strictly tabloid all the way.

  16. Christal says:

    Believe it or not there are a lot of nice people in Hollywood…..CB

  17. homosezwut says:

    Remember that Sony is the same studio that hired Barbra Streisand’s former her stylist turned lover turned producer to Co-head the studio with Peter Guber. – I’m just sayin’ :)

  18. guest says:

    Oh, Angelina cares alright. She knows that Rudin only said what probably most of ‘Hollywood’ is thinking. Her super huge ego wasn’t bothered by it until it was made public though, she was able to ignore it. My feeling is that she was the subject of that Sony leak because she was getting far too arrogant and someone felt the need to slap her down and remind her that her ‘superstar saint’ image is just that, an image. She can be brought down as quickly as she was raised if she’s no longer useful and pushing whatever agenda it is ‘they’ want pushed and she’d better not forget it. I think she was seriously shaken by it because she really, honestly, believed that she was untouchable (in part due to her personality disorder, I’m sure). I think Pitt thought so too and he’s shtting himself now and desperately looking for an exit strategy. She’s a liability now and it’s only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down. JMO.

  19. Liz Tee says:

    As I read this, I kept thinking of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s singing, “I owe my soul to the company store…”

  20. Brian says:

    Good riddance!

  21. equipmentguy says:

    As a general comment it’s stunning who the hell these billion dollar corporations hire to run their prized assets (Sony giving the reins of their huge content provider Sony Studios to Amy). I’m sure Amy’s a nice enough person and a decent producer but her actions and comments are pure amateur hour for someone who is in charge of such a large operation and has thousands of people under them. You do see this over the years where a studio will hire a good producer to run things and it just seems to never work out well. It’s like in the real world, I worked at at large corp where they promoted the top salesman to be the North American sales manager and it was a disaster. But then you look at Paramount and Sherry Lansing did a really good job as the Prez and was a pretty good producer too, who knows but the bottom line was Amy had to go for the poison she had spread in those emails.

  22. Vicky says:

    ““Everybody understood because we all live in this weird thing called Hollywood,” she said. “If we were all actually were nice, it wouldn’t work”

    Horse Shyte. This is precisely why people don’t like or trust pascal: she’s a lying, conniving nut. Exactly ALL that is wrong and regressive about Hollywood.

  23. evietoo says:

    This article is riddled with grammatical errors and typos. Was it so important to post quickly that you couldn’t take 10 minutes to copy edit it? Or even to take 10 minutes after posting it to fix the copy?

    This is Variety, not a text message to a friend.

  24. Reality check says:

    Sorry but let’s get some perspective on this.
    Yes she is a woman – but that is no reason for her actions or behaviour. She did not run the company single handedly. She supposedly started at the bottom. In true Hollywood style we have heard about the post room rise to successes before. Just because she is a woman should this even more of an accolade. We all know in film it is not what you know but who you know that gets you jobs, commissions and success. There are plenty of great bright smart filmmakers out there.
    If you are sat in a corporation on your Sony owned blackberry or laptop you have a responsibility to ensure you follow the code of conduct and practice. Mocking races, people and being a general vile person is no excuse. She should have been marched out and left. But no she got a handsome paycheck to be a producer in the same building. So pray tell what have we actually witnessed? Please do not patronise the cause now by parading to every Women’s event and professing to do it all for women and be interviewed by her elite friends.

    Annoying as hell. She is not smart with her life and personal decisions, tactful or race or person aware. Life skills can not be replaced by excuses. Man, woman, black or white – it’s the same treatment and a corporate has accountability and responsibility to show the door and close it.

    • On the spot analysis. Just re-read carefully these words from the article again: ” … ‘They don’t have our emails, tell me they don’t have our emails,’” she said. “But then they did. That was a bad moment. And you know what you write in emails.” Well, there are still enough people who know how to write [emails] on the corporate level, and they know that they’re accountable for what they write. They weigh their words and choose them carefully. Writers know that the word can be a powerful weapon and it can be turned against you if you mishandle it. However painful it is when something corporate leaks into public, and you are singled out, if a writer can stand behind the words it’s not a complete disaster. We live in the world where private and public life overlaps so much and anybody can become a celebrity. You just need 15 minutes of fame.

  25. Aimee says:

    “Here’s the problem: I run a business. People want to work for less money, I pay them less money…Women shouldn’t be so grateful. Know what you’re worth. Walk away.”

    Walk away to what? No one wants to work for less money. You and your cronies want to pay them less because 1) you know there are fewer options for them and 2) you want more money available for the men. End of story.

    • Stella Jimson says:

      Stupid response — the so-called ‘star’ talent, which is who she is talking about, IS way over-compensated. Sticking up for them like the poster above is stupid as their payment often makes a movie unprofitable/less profitable and has a direct impact right through the movie-making chain – to the detriment of non-stars and technicians – less cash to go around for them, fewer movies made now, fewer job opportunities.

  26. Cait says:

    Why TF isn’t that other male exec not getting more flack??

    • There is a huge difference between Pascal and Rudin. Pascal was the division co-head of Sony Studios, part of a publicly traded multinational corporation. As such she is held to a higher standard..period. She isn’t just speaking for herself in those emails…she is the mouth of Sony Studios…she is directly in charge, and in has final say over what gets made with whom and for how much…she is in a position of POWER and fiduciary responsibility.

      Rudin is simply a well known producer…not even an employee…just an outside owner of his own production studio. What he says thinks ultimately effects nobody but him, he answers to no shareholders, is held to no corporate standard, he can’t green light, hire, fire, or control the purse strings of anything but what he produces, people can choose to to work with him or not, which is not the case with Pascal.

    • Aimee says:

      She led the company and was quite respected. He’s a producer, and long known to be an ahole.

      • PG says:

        While that may be the reason, it’s hardly an excuse – people ‘get away’ with leading/inspiring apalling behavior because they’re already known to act like that…? Not a good message to send: it should not be the case that if you’re upfront about it, you can do what you like; there should be reprimands and consequences.

  27. Glenn C. says:

    I’ve worked with Amy years ago. She was fine. In fact, I liked how laid back she was and yet smart and direct. Also she is a big fan of giving the creatives room to work. Breathe.
    I wish her well.

    • Tobey says:

      In other words, she got paid millions to let other people do all the work and all she did was have lunch and say “yes” to everything.

  28. sl says:

    She did not refer to AJ as a spoiled brat in any of the emails published…

  29. Sullivan says:

    Boo freakin’ hoo lady. You screwed up and got the hook. You’ll still be making a ton of money. STFU and go home.

  30. Keith White says:

    A remarkably immature woman.

    • Vicky says:

      And if she shows up at the Oscars–she should expect to be roundly booed and publicly humiliated on national television.

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