Amy Pascal Sets Back Women in Hollywood and Race Issues in One Fell Swoop

Amy Pascal and leaked Sony emails, Amy Pascal racist remarks about president, Sony Pictures, GOP, Hollywood racism“I’m not going anywhere.”

That’s what Amy Pascal, Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair and Chair of Sony Pictures Entertaintment Motion Picture Group, said after weeks of seemingly endless list of horribles being released by e-mail hackers. But that’s what lots of high profile execs have said before resigning to “spend more time with their families.”

When Pascal’s head ends up on the chopping block — and it will —  the real impact won’t be just one more generic senior exec getting the axe. Her reckless “private” e-mails and the thought that anything digital can’t be hacked (have we not seen that movie before?) are so naive that there should be no mercy for Pascal or others who went along with their ugly “jokes,” some of which were incredibly racist and seemed to foster an atmosphere of seeing who could be more racially provocative.

There are plenty of troubling things about the internal missives of Pascal and her Sony cohorts. But there are few enough women at her level in Hollywood as it is. It’s a pretty short list.  As women continue to struggle for parity in the entertainment industry, do we really need a woman like Pascal shooting herself in her read carpet walking foot?

The entertainment industry doesn’t need the ranks of women who can greenlight projects to dwindle. Without that handful of women we wouldn’t have movies like The Hurt Locker or have women advocating for changing the way we see gender on both the big and little screen.

So just how bad are those e-mails?  In one of the most controversial messages, Pascal writes to producer Scott Rudin about an upcoming meeting with President Obama at a fundraising event with Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of the biggest behind-the-scenes names in Hollywood. Pascal and Rudin start riffing in a way that can only be viewed as racist:

“Would [the president] like to finance some movies?” Rudin wrote, referring to the president. Pascal wrote back, “I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” Rudin responded with “12 YEARS,” and Pascal volleyed back by listing other films starring African-Americans: “Or the butler. Or think like a man? [sic]. … Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.” 

And just for good measure, Pascal also has emails to alienate families by adoption, by joking that the current “trend” for big name celebrities to take small roles in films is akin to “adopting black children” like Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock.

So the super-liberal Hollywood that Republicans have complained about for so long has some serious race problems.

Of course, Pascal is trying to mend bridges and says she’s reached out to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to apologize.  Seems like she should be calling 1600 Pennsylvania Ave with an apology.

One of the most shocking revelations was a Lilly Ledbetter moment — the revelation that female stars, as well as film studio executives, are routinely getting paid less than their male counterparts. But that’s not a problem, according to Aaron Sorkin, the creator of the West Wing, because women just don’t have the same demanding jobs in Hollywood as men do!

Without more women at the helm in Hollywood, it feels like there’s little hope in my lifetime to see things improve for women in the entertainment industry or for the female images our kids see on their screens to change. Thanks to Pascal, it might take a couple more lifetimes for that to come close to happening.

Joanne Bamberger is an independent journalist and journalism entrepreneur who is also the author of the book Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. She is the founder and publisher of the The Broad Side. Joanne is at work on a forthcoming anthology about Hillary Clinton. You can find Joanne on Twitter at @jlcbamberger. Also, follow The Broad Side on Twitter at @The_Broad_Side and on Facebook!
To schedule an interview with Joanne, you can reach her at

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  • Maggy

    It’s counterproductive to target individual women. They are fighting against an unfair system.

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