By Julissa Catalan
The massive Sony email leak continues to reveal controversial exchanges between executives and Hollywood’s elite. This time, Sony Pictures CEO Amy Pascal and Oscar-winning film producer Scott Rudin were outted as racists after an email conversation mocking President Obama surfaced.
In the conversation—which took place in November of last year—Pascal asked Rudin, “What should I ask the President at this stupid Jeffrey breakfast” (She was referring to Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO.)
Rudin replied, “Would he like to finance some movies.”
“I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO” Pascal asked.
Rudin responded: “12 YEARS.”
“Or the butler. Or think like a man” Pascal continued with the racist innuendos.
“Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”
All of the films mentioned above—Django Unchained, 12 Years a Slave, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Think Like a Man and Ride Along—star Blacks.
Later that evening, at a DreamWorks fundraiser, the President spoke about the impact films have on the U.S. and all over the world.
“Believe it or not, entertainment is part of our American diplomacy,” Obama said, later praising Hollywood’s representation of “diversity and overcoming adversity” over the years.
“If they’re watching an old movie—Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Mary Tyler Moore Show or Will and Grace and Modern Family—they’ve had a front-row seat to our march towards progress. Even if their own nations haven’t made that progress yet.”
Shortly after the emails went public, Pascal and Rudin both released apologies.
“The content of my emails were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am,” Pascal said in a statement to Variety. “Although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended.”
“Private emails between friends and colleagues written in haste and without much thought or sensitivity, even when the content of them is meant to be in jest, can result in offense where none was intended,” Rudin told Deadline. “I made a series of remarks that were meant only to be funny, but in the cold light of day, they are in fact thoughtless and insensitive—and not funny at all. To anybody I’ve offended, I’m profoundly and deeply sorry, and I regret and apologize for any injury they might have caused.”
The White House has declined to comment on the controversy.
However, celebrities like Shonda Rhimes are using social media to comment on the racist emails.
Calling Sony comments”racially insensitive remarks” instead of “racist” U can put a cherry on a pile of sh*t but it don’t make it a sundae.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) December 11, 2014