Sony Domestic Marketing Chief Christine Birch Under Fire (EXCLUSIVE)

Sony Pictures is investigating internal complaints leveled against Christine Birch, the studio’s domestic marketing president, Variety has learned.

Birch has not been in the office this week and was urged by higher ups to take a few days off while grievances about her behavior are examined by human resources staff. It’s unclear what Birch’s future status at Sony will be, but a resolution is expected shortly.

Staffers in the marketing department have been complaining to Sony’s human resources team about Birch’s caustic style and alleged use of marijuana during work hours for roughly six months and are frustrated about the lack of action, according to multiple sources. Birch has denied to human resources personnel that she has been smoking pot on the lot, according to one knowledgable source, but multiple staffers say they have smelled marijuana on her or have seen other evidence of pot smoking. She has been told repeatedly that she is not to use marijuana on Sony property.

Popular on Variety

A spokesperson for Sony declined to comment for this story, citing personnel issues. Birch also declined to comment.

Birch has had one major ally in her corner even as a brusque interpersonal manner has alienated her from staffers on the marketing team. Josh Greenstein, the president of marketing and distribution at the studio, brought Birch into the fold in 2016 and has remained one of her big boosters. He credits her creative chops with providing invaluable insight on the campaigns for recent Sony hits such as “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

Irrespective of Birch’s marketing acumen, Sony staffers have grown frustrated with the inaction on the part of human resources. Staffers believe the department has done little other than issue mild warnings since being notified about Birch’s behavior months ago.

Birch joined Sony two years ago from Focus Features, where she was president of marketing. She previously ran marketing for FilmDistrict and did a stint at DreamWorks Studios.

This is Birch’s second go-round with Sony. She was previously with the studio for 12 years.

More Film

  • Legion M Launches Film Scout Mobile

    Film News Roundup: Legion M Launches Film Scout Mobile App at Sundance

    In today’s film news roundup, Legion M is launching its Film Scout mobile app, the first round of Oscar presenters are unveiled, Verve is expanding its book-to-screen business, “Gladiator” producer David Franzoni boards an American Indian project, and XYZ announces promotions. SUNDANCE LAUNCH Fan-owned Legion M is launching its Film Scout mobile app at this [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    APA Reaches Deal With Writers Guild of America

    APA has reached a deal with the Writers Guild of America, ending a nine-month standoff over allowing the agency to represent guild members. The full-service agency made the announcement Tuesday, four days after the Gersh agency signed a similar deal with the WGA. It’s the sixth mid-size agency to accede to the WGA’s bans on [...]

  • UTA Sundance

    UTA Marketing Ups Sundance Game With Private Residence, Programming

    Talent agency hospitality is a mainstay at the Sundance film Festival, be it in swanky lounges on Park City’s Main Street or private chalets in nearby Deer Valley. United Talent Agency, whose talent roster and independent film group always come in force each year, typically throws a brunch for friends and press — but will [...]

  • Joel Silver

    Silver Pictures Settles with Family of Assistant Who Died on Bora Bora Trip

    Silver Pictures has reached a confidential settlement with the family of Carmel Musgrove, the assistant to Joel Silver who was found dead in a Bora Bora lagoon in 2015. Musgrove’s family filed a wrongful death suit in 2017, alleging that she had been overworked and furnished with drugs and alcohol during the trip. The family [...]

  • David O. Russell

    David O. Russell Looks at 'Three Kings' 20 Years Later

    When David O. Russell made “Three Kings” in 1999, it was one of the most definitive films on the Gulf War. At the time, the director had worked on shorts “Hairway to the Stars” and “Bingo Inferno: A Parody on American Obsessions.” He had also worked on features “Spanking the Monkey” and “Flirting with Disaster.” [...]

  • Metoo Sundance The Glorias Zola On

    #MeToo Issues Continue to Make an Impact on Sundance Films

    If there were any doubts that the impact of sexual-harassment exposés­­ and backlash against them had died down, Oprah Winfrey put them to rest when she withdrew her name (and Apple’s distribution) from “On The Record,” a film about allegations against music execs Russell Simmons and L.A. Reid — just two weeks before its Sundance Film Festival premiere. Variety reached out to Winfrey and the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content