“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.”
“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!!!!”