Pascal to step down as Sony studio head after hacking upheaval

Thu Feb 5, 2015 6:13pm EST
 
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By Mary Milliken and Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Amy Pascal will step down as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment after hackers angry about a movie she championed mocking North Korea's dictator exposed a raft of embarrassing emails between Pascal and other Hollywood figures.

One of the most powerful women executives in Hollywood, Pascal had kept a low profile since her emails were leaked by hackers and widely reported by media, particularly one in which she made racially insensitive remarks about President Barack Obama's taste in films.

Sony Pictures said Pascal will step down from her current post in May to launch her own production venture on the studio lot with its financial backing.

Sony Pictures Chief Executive and Chairman Michael Lynton told Reuters the emails leaked late last year played no role in his and Pascal's decision not to renew her contract in March 2015.

The entertainment arm of Sony Corp was victim of the most destructive cyber attack on a private company on U.S. soil.

The U.S. government has blamed the hack on North Korea after the reclusive nation was angered by a Sony comedy "The Interview," depicting the fictional assassination of leader Kim Jong Un.

Pascal had greenlighted the movie, which opened in limited release after the studio reversed a decision, condemned by Obama, to cancel its theatrical release.

Having her emails laid out for all of Hollywood to see appeared to be a big blow to the 56-year-old studio boss known for her good relationships with actors and her backing of edgy films like "Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."   Continued...

 
Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal poses during the premiere of "The Interview" in Los Angeles, California December 11, 2014.  REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian