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.
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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.