Amy Pascal resigns as co-chairman of Sony after months of controversy

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Amy Pascal announced her resignation as co-chairman of Sony Pictures yesterday. But she’s still going to be around, no worries. Pascal won’t be stepping down officially until May, and even then, she’s still attached to Sony through a producing deal. Pascal became a household name in gossip circles in December, when the massive Sony Hack revealed Pascal’s email chains with Angelina Jolie, David Fincher, producer Scott Rudin, Aaron Sorkin and other Sony executives. The biggest story involved Pascal and Scott Rudin acting like high school mean girls behind Angelina’s back as they tried to manipulate Angelina away from caring about her long-gestating Cleopatra project. Another big story from the Sony Hack: Pascal and Scott Rudin like to email racist “jokes” to each other, for laughs.

There were calls for Pascal to step down that same week that the Sony Hack stories went crazy, but Pascal issued a blanket apology and industry sources claimed there was a “groundswell” of support for her. Guess not!

Amy Pascal is stepping down as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chairman of its motion picture group. She will remain at the studio as part of a new producing deal. Pascal will stay in place through May, at which point she will take the reins at her new venture.

No decision has been made on her replacement, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation, but there is a deep bench on the Sony lot. Among her possible replacements from within the Sony ranks are former Fox studio chief Tom Rothman, who now runs TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group President Doug Belgrad, and Columbia Pictures Production President Michael De Luca.

Pascal is one of the longest serving Hollywood studio chiefs and has been praised for her role in shepherding a number of commercial and critical hits such as “Spider-Man,” “The Social Network,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “21 Jump Street” to the big screen.

Sony is providing the funding for Pascal’s production company and will retain worldwide rights to the films she makes. It will be based on the Sony lot.

“I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energized to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home,” said Pascal in a statement. “I have always wanted to be a producer.”

[From Variety]

I don’t really know what to think about the corporate decisions of Sony with how they handled everything around the Sony Hack and Pascal’s now-resignation. I mean, after the impact of the Sony Hack became clear, it really did seem like Pascal was going to be out of a job pretty quickly. Should we praise or slam Sony’s corporate leadership in NOT kneecapping Pascal in the midst of the scandal? They let her wait it out, become the public face of the hack, and quietly worked behind the scenes to secure her resignation and a comfortable golden parachute. I don’t know… it seems generous. And despite the fact that a woman is taking the fall for the bad decisions of many people, I think Pascal has been treated fairly regardless of gender. If Pascal was a man in this job and all of this happened on his watch, this is pretty much what would have gone down.

pascal jolie

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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89 Responses to “Amy Pascal resigns as co-chairman of Sony after months of controversy”

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  1. Felice says:

    I’m trash. I didn’t look at the picture directly and I thought it was Steve Tyler.

    (I have no sympathy towards her)

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m not defending her by any means, but I do think she would keep her job if she had a penis. Her behavior is on par with her peers, obviously. The men involved engaged at the same level.

    • LAK says:

      The men weren’t co-chairmen of the studio. She was. Her new deal reduces her to the same level as the men.

      And actually, it’s better for her to have this type of deal because now she’ll be able to make real money like the men. Studio executives have clout, but they don’t make as much money as people assume they make.

      • lisa2 says:

        Well Producers don’t make as much as people think either.. Unless you have been doing it for a LOOOONG time.

      • LAK says:

        Lisa2: I agree, but it’s still better than a studio exec.

        If you compare their mutual CVs, Scott will have made more money than Amy even though they’ve been at the top of their game for decades, making hit films.

    • sally says:

      She’s the co-chair with a man at Sony. They have the exact same job. He makes ONE MILLION DOLLARS MORE than her. Sony already owes her MILLIONS OF DOLLARS for the pay disparity she’s had to put up with since she joined in 1988.

      If she were a man, they may have asked her step down too, but they definitely would have given her a nice pay out. She should demand the several million dollars that she’s owed.

      • LAK says:

        Sally, whilst I agree with your larger point, her co-chair wasn’t caught in the hack bitching about people. She was.

        And we don’t know the details of her severance pay, but we do know that she’s walking away with a production/distribution deal. Fully financed. She’s not walking away with only her severance pay, whatever that package may be.

  3. Nibbi says:

    1. this seems to speak to the sheer power of Angelina in Hollywood. i don t mean to say that angelina necessarily had anything to do with her stepping down, ie, pulling strings to get her ousted or whatever, but it’s kinda like, whoaaa, scandal touching AJ? you’re ouuuuttttt

    2. um i don t remember what position the other guy had, rudin or whatever his name was, whether he was at sony or what… but yeah, it does look like a woman is taking the fall when her part in the emails, and the jerky statements, were way less mean and obnoxious and snarky and embarassing for her than for him. wonder what the politics of that situation are/ whether this stuff will hurt the guy’s career

    • LAK says:

      Without looking at exact terms of remuneration of her deal, superficially she’s now on a par with Rudin.

    • mom2two says:

      I believe (and some one correct me if I am not correct here) that Scott Rudin is an independent producer. I’m not sure if he and Amy Pascal have a good relationship post Sony leak, but it sounds like they worked together frequently prior to that.
      I’m not surprised that Amy Pascal is out. I am sure those leaked e-mails are hindering Sony’s ability to work with top talent (as I am sure none of them wanted to be associated with that, especially Angelina Jolie. I’m not saying Angelina has that type of power, but studios do want to work with her.). I do have to agree with Kaiser, I think in this case, a man would have gotten the same treatment in this instance. I’d say some of the other Sony employees who also engaged in those e-mails should have some type of fallout too. Kevin Hart was very gracious in his comments regarding the studio after what was said about him.

    • Louise177 says:

      The emails didn’t make Angelina look bad. She’s the one who looked mature. I seriously doubt she had Amy fired. It’s weird that people think that Angelina is superficial and cares so much about what other people say. I haven’t seen anything in her behavior to prove that. If anything her life proves the opposite. Besides money means a lot more in Hollywood. Amy would have stayed if it looked like she would be a benefit.

      • Yes agree Louise. And I think it was the racist “jokes” and the fact that Amy looked SO weak (for a studio head), along with the mind numbingly bad grammar on her work email…….that’s what got her the boot. I think. I understand that when you work with someone/known someone for a long time that there’s a degree of intimacy and openness, but COME ON. Do it over your personal emails. Not on the clock. To me it just looks like all the studio execs are teenagers that like to talk shit. I do that. But I don’t do it at work.

      • laura in LA says:

        Virgilia, exactly! As if the bad grammar and immaturity weren’t bad enough, there’s the racism…
        Can you imagine having to deal w/these people? Surprisingly, the only sympathetic ones in all this are the actors.

      • Someonestolemyname says:

        The NY Post is not exactly a Angelina fan and they said Angelina came out polite, knowledgable and thoughtful in the emails, while it was Amy who came out badly.
        Angelina came off as polite, thoughtful.

    • obsidian says:

      I think her being asked to step down has less to do with the Jolie email snarks but more to do with the Obama racist remarks and not doing anything to prevent the hacking despite being warned of weak security.

      • Someonestolemyname says:

        Exactly! I think it was the racist commentary or joking that ended it for her.
        That really bothered me, more than what she said about Angelina or other actors.

        How can people work with her ,have conversations with her knowing she make joke about racial things behind their backs? She can’t be trusted.

    • Jayna says:

      “The power of Angie in Hollywood.” LOL Angie has zero to do with this. Scott Rudin dissed her, never Amy.

      It was all about the horribly racist emails back and forth about President Obama she made.

      • lucy2 says:

        Agreed – that, plus the unprofessional manner the emails portrayed (she sounded like a middle school kid in most of them) and the misfortune of being in charge when the hack happened and becoming the public face of it.
        Rudin was the one making the negative remarks about Jolie, not Pascal, so the Jolie “power” thing doesn’t really make much sense to me.
        This is all about a large company stuck in a scandal trying to repair the damage. Given how ineffectual she seemed at dealing with problems between people, maybe it’s not a bad thing for her to move into a different part of the company.

      • Rex says:

        Well she did diss Leonardo, so maybe he has something to do with this. Leo is huge power player in Hollywood.

    • rafelasa says:

      It had nothing to do with Jolie. She probably was forced to setp down because of the racist Obama comments. To be fair, Jolie was kinda acting like a brat. She was over-steping her boundaries on Cleopatra. Why did she go behind Rudins back and was trying to force Fincher to give up working on whatever project he was working at the time, on to do Cleopatra? Actors/Actresses do not have a right to do that. Only a studio does.
      Besides, Leo is more powerful then Jolie is. They were trashing Leo big time also.
      And Rudin isn’t going away any time soon. He is infact nominated for an Oscar for Grande Budapest Hotel this year. Call him all the names you want but he is far more powerful then Jolie is.

      • Tarsha says:

        Or rather how brainwashed and reaching the haters are. In all reports, Angelina has been praised for being polite, dignified, and for taking a very keen interest in the path of Cleopatra. It is every actor’s right, and responsibility, to take active involvement. Only the haters are saying she went behind their backs (which is not true). Many neutral to anti-Angelina reporters are PRAISING her for her behaviour right through the emails. Do you think you know more than them?

    • Bridget says:

      That’s silly. She stepped down because Sony has been on a downslide in terms of quality and in revenue for a while now, and the hacked emails exposed that it’s a mess behind the scenes as well. The sniping and the tasteless jokes – I have a feeling you’d fine similar communications from any studio. But Pascal seems to have little clue what she’s doing. Look at the above movies referenced as her hits: ZDT, Amazing Spider Man, amd 21 Jump Street. Hits, yes. But if those are the highlights of her recent CV then something is seriously wrong because those were not big enough hits to sustain a career.

  4. Sarah says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel for her. It just strikes me that she’s the only one really eating it after that debacle.
    People viewed her partner in crime’s similarly catty remarks as hilarious, but public perception of cattiness in a woman plays out differently.

    • Amy says:

      I think she put herself in that position.

      The truth is she’s the one in the position where she can be easilly and quickly fired and that she signed her name to some awful things. The others are contract people and yes they might get iced out for a while, but Scott Rudin isn’t showing up every morning to an office in the studio.

  5. Maya says:

    Good and now hopefully Scott Rudin will lose his other projects and never be seen or heard about.

    • LAK says:

      Seriously Maya, do you know nothing about Hollywood??!!

    • Leona says:

      Haahaa. Scott Rudin is going nowhere. Ever. Get that into your heads people. You’ll probably see him sitted next to the “minimally talented brat” at some awards gala within the next few years. Just wait.

      • I just find it SO funny that he was saying that he didn’t want to spend 200 million (or however much it was) on a piece of shit movie, when Angelina wanted to make a movie more about the politics and power of Cleopatra, and he wanted to make it into a love story. Which we’ve seen a MILLION times. Just find that SO funny. I couldn’t understand for YEARS why Angelina was so hell bent on making “Cleopatra”…and I get it now.

      • Jayna says:

        @Virgilia, 200 million is a massive number to put out a movie. That’s astronominocal and so risky to put that kind of money into a movie. It would have been a fiasco and never made back the money. It doesn’t matter which direction the movie went. It was always a bad idea. Angie was too old for that movie. I don’t know that I’ve heard of a 200 million dollar movie before. Are you sure that’s the number? Studios have to make back their money and make a profit. It would have to be some CGI blockbuster action movie.

        Angie’s movie she just put out cost 50 million to make to give you an idea.

      • mia girl says:

        Agree. Scott Rudin isn’t going anywhere. He’s been this way always, (Swimming With The Sharks). has likely been heard saying way worse things about other people and yet in this industry he is one of the major power players who consistently delivers the financing for good/great films.

        And we won’t have to wait too long to see him. He’s nominated for a Best Picture Oscar with The Grand Budapest Hotel.

      • LAK says:

        Jayna: The JOHN CARTER film was $250M. $350M if you add marketing.

        For summer blockbuster films with lots of CGI, Hollywood throws money at them.

        This is why Marvel is considered cheap. They refuse to throw that kind of money around, not just towards the actors. However, since they’ve found a new home at Disney, who knows……

      • @Jayna
        I’m not disputing the amount of money, or that it wasn’t a ton of money–but if you went by his comments, you’d assume that Angelina wanted to make a movie that is the same old same old (that NEVER works), and he wanted to make a movie that was different from the other adaptations. That’s what my point is. That he’s calling her out for being a “camp event” and “minimally talented”…..but he wants to make another generic version of Cleopatra, that is basically just a circle jerk for guys.

      • lucy2 says:

        Yup – this has been reiterated on almost every post about this story. The guy is a jerk, but a jerk who gets results and makes people money. He’s not going anywhere.

    • Jayna says:

      He’s a power player and has been a known terror and jerk for years. So it’s no surprise. He’s a huge hothead. He gets the money there and gets movies made. And many of his movies have been hits. Most any actor would work with him and studio if he brought them a great project.

    • Mia4S says:

      See my post below @MAYA. Scott Rudin’s Jobs movie is filming right now at Universal Studios with an A list cast and a scheduled release next Oscar season. That’s how Hollywood really works.

      • Yeah, I saw a pic with Fassy as Steve Jobs. I think he’ll do a good job, but he looks so weird with his hair like that, lol.

      • rafelasa says:

        Exactly. Rudin knows how to pick good projects. Expect Jobs to get tons of Oscar nominations and probably good reviews.
        By the Sea( directed by Jolie and run by Universal also) is suppose to come out around that time too. I don’t think Universal will spend that campaign money on Jolie’s film considering how Unbroken got no Oscar nominations or even good reviews. They will spend it on Jobs I think.

    • k says:

      maya, i will second that emotion.
      and yes, lak, pointlessly :)

    • rafelasa says:

      Oh you wish! Scott Rudin might be a jerk( who tells the truth about certain stars very harshly) but he is a big time producer. He is not going away sorry. He has been involved in so many great films that have won Oscars. He is nominated for Grande Budapest Hotel this year. He got an Oscar nod whereas a certain actresses who directed a epic flop didn’t.
      He is not going away any time soon and this proves you are foreign to how Hollywood works. I personally found his responses funny except the racist Obama ones.

      • Tarsha says:

        I don’t think Scott Rudin has ever told the truth about any star. I think its wishful thinking by certain haters, but it doesn’t make it true. Certainly his attacks on Angelina and Leo are at direct odds with the rest of Hollywood executives who work for them. His views are not shared by anyone.

      • Maya says:

        First of all Unbroken is not a flop no matter how much you claim it to be. The budget was 65m and almost all of the promotions were done by Universal studios so the cost was not that high. The movie has earned 130m and counting – that makes it a hit.

        Secondly Angelina’s Maleficent earned 750m and is a huge hit. In total she was in two movies last year which has earned combined 900m at the boxoffice.

        Last but not least – email from end of November clearly shows that hollywood studios don’t want to work with Scott Rudin. Sony decided to buy/blackmail HIM out on Cleopatra and instead they are negotiating deals with Angelina, Daniel Day Lewis, Martin Scorcese and possible Leo D. So Infact they want to work with an actress instead of the Oscar winning producer.

  6. Sixer says:

    I have little to say other than, now having seen the puerile level at which these people communicate with one another, that I’m amazed any films actually ever get made.

  7. scout says:

    Good, I am glad she won’t have the chance to take “revenge” on people again for bad movies with fake “great” reviews now but is she the only one who got sacked? Doesn’t sound fair. I almost hear GC crying his eyes out in his bathroom for the loss of his fairy Godmother right now. Haha.

    How are we going to punish that biggest ass Rudin?

    • lisa2 says:

      Rudin is not an employee of Sony. Amy is. He is a Producer that can do his work anywhere. So Sony can disassociate with him. But he will go to another Studio.. just like he just did with his Jobs film.

    • BangersandMash says:

      I have no doubt that The Leg will crush him when he least expects…
      After all, he tried to crush her project, and now that it’s out in the open… *smh*

      I know, I know… She’s a mom, she’s a humanitarian, she’s a wife and is very mature and earthy.

      But damn… Angelina circa 2001… She’d be in an empty bath-tub with her pet mouse, thinking up ways to utterly demolish Rudin

  8. Imtellinu says:

    It was more about the racism in reference to the president than it was about Angie.

  9. lisa2 says:

    I’m sure there will be people to point the finger at Angelina which is dumb. She was not working exclusively with Sony. Had ONE project in the works. Hardly the kind of long term relationship that would warrant someone losing their jobs over.

    Sony’s owners are the ones that let Amy go. Sony is not an American owned company it it a Japanese owned company. And this behaviour from a Head of a Studio may not be as acceptable in other places. Her past relationship with Rudin shows her lack of spin. She use to work for him and maybe that dynamic is still present in her DNA and she just couldn’t tell him to Kiss her ass and not talk to her that way. She is the Head of a Major Studio and her behavior and manner were not a good visual for the company. So she lost or job. Very sad too considering how few women are in those positions.

  10. Felice says:

    Still love that woman in the background of the pic of Angie giving her the eye (“I think I’ll stay right here…..”)

  11. I Choose Me says:

    My favourite thing about that Angie death glare picture is still the lady in the background. She looks ready to tag in at any minute.

  12. Mia4S says:

    Amy Pascal was the longest serving active studio head. Sony’s box office has been crap for a few years (White House Down, After Earth (!), Spider-Man underperformed, Annie underperformed). The writing was on the wall, hack or no hack. She’ll continue to make millions as a producer.

    Scott Rudin’s Jobs movie is filming at Universal with an A list cast and a release date next awards season. He will continue to make millions as a producer.

    Welcome to Hollywood!

    • Bridget says:

      Her job was probably on the line already, and then there was the epic fiasco of the Hack. I just don’t understand why people actually think she’s being fired for ticking off Angelina Jolie or making some racist jokes. Moviemaking is filled with awful people, but that’s accepted as long as you make money. Pascal was probably on thin ground after White House Down and After Earth (seriously, WHO thought that was a good idea?)

  13. db says:

    I kind of feel Pascal is a bit of sacrificial lamb here, that everything she said or did is normal behind-closed-doors behavior. But since is a studio chief she has to pay the price, while a vitriolic crazy like Scott Rudin does not.

  14. Amy says:

    Good. I hope she’s an example to all the people who use the excuse of saying, “Well everyone else was doing it and that’s just the environment.”

    I was raised that if you join in on something bad that you don’t believe in and it gets exposed don’t bother to whine about how you’re not that kind of person and others are. Maybe she felt like she had to fit in with the boys culture but by doing so she also became the easiest scape goat once her name was signed to the words she wrote. Maybe if she’d refused to join in and just rolled her eyes and wrote responses without insulting anyone based on their race she’d still have a job.

  15. Amy says:

    Also I truly believe this is one instance where she’d have faced the same fate if she was a man.

    She was just not invaluable enough for the scandal that happened. A man in Pascal’s position that went from (to the general public) unknown to the face of one of the biggest scandals and a participant in insulting racial emails during a time when race has been such a huge topic?

    Oh no, dude is gone. They need at least one ‘restructuring’ to show the public they’re trying to do better and a male or female Pascal would have their office cleaned out.

    Don’t do anything you don’t 100% believe in people, especially if you’re not willing to accept the consequences if it all blows up in your face.

  16. kri says:

    This is like Sweet Valley high with rabies. this group of insular -aholes thought they were immune to everything. Well, guess what? Busted. So, no, it’s not like this lady is going to be tossed out of her efficiency apartment and starve. I would hate to be in that town.

  17. Reed says:

    So who is going to protect Clooney now? Poor baby mommy is leaving someone please give him his binky and dummy.

  18. Sammi says:

    Amy Pascal is not a chairMAN. She is female and therefore either a chairwoman or chairperson. My gawd people, it’s 2015. Can we evolve beyond gender exclusive language.

    • Tarsha says:

      Maybe some people don’t care about being PC. I’m a woman and wouldn’t care if I was called chairman. What next? Change human to huwoman? History to herstory?

      • Sammi says:

        This isn’t about political correctness. This is about the evolution of language. When women were second class citizens and didn’t participate in the work world like men, these words (eg. chairman, policeman, fireman) were created to reflect what the meant – a man who fights fires, for example. Language has always been fluid and changing and this is a perfect example. The use of the word “chairman” in this article is very dated. The past few decades have seen the use of gender inclusive language become the standard. My first post was pointing out how behind the times this article was. I work in a university and believe me, most departments and professors expect students to properly use gender inclusive language in the written assignments.
        If you think this is just being “PC”, then do you also think we should revert back to using the “N word” to describe black persons? This is also an example of the evolution of language.

  19. AppleOne says:

    Okay, that’s a good decision and all however WHY didn’t THE BOYS of this scandal resigned? Why is the woman taking the blame? Scott Rudin, Aaron Sorkin do you hear me?

    • Mia4S says:

      Neither Scott Rudin or Aaron Sorkin are employees of Sony. They’re independent contractors at best. There is nowhere for them to resign from. Many gender issues in Hollywood need to be called out. Here? Not really. Male studio heads have gone down for less.

  20. Santolina says:

    Of course, she was asked to step down, behind closed doors. Nobody resigns from a $3M position. Look at the power this shakeup gives the purportedly North Korean hackers to determine which pictures should be made, as Amy was the one who greenlit “The Interview.” SONY proves beyond the shadow of a doubt what spineless wimps they are.

  21. CK says:

    Well, for a second I thought this wasn’t going to happen. Welp, I’m meh about it. At least, She wasn’t unceremoniously fired and she was given the courtesy of a resignation/pr flip. That’s pretty much it. Maybe, try not to be as casually racist at your next job and bash the people you work with on your own dime/non company issued devices.

  22. Stephanie says:

    This is completely superficial, I admit it. This woman looks like hell. Holy cow.

    • CK says:

      In your defense, it’s hard not to be superficial when someone is wearing 3 necklaces, a sports jacket and 2 shirts, a belt with more jewelry and jeans. You really have to try hard to put that together. No one who doesn’t care about what they look like would try that hard. It’s like France’s Mcdormand’s “Jean jacket normal wear” mess from the Tony’s.

  23. DayandNight says:

    I don’t think this is fair. Pascal didn’t publish the emails herself but was a victim of a hacking attack. Isn’t illegally obtained evidence banned from being used in court? Why can it be used to more or less force her out of her job? Sure it was stupid to write such gossipy-trashy emails via her official email account but that ain’t anything more but stupid.
    My guess is that the publication of those illegally retrieved emails burned one too many relationships so that she probably can’t do her job any more because too many hollywood stars are miffed.

    However the most interesting question is: WHO PROFITS FROM PASCAL’S RESIGNATION?
    If you think about it it is far more intriguing. If somebody had had those emails hacked and published to enforce some movie industy bigwigs to resign… fascinating story. It is speculation albeit fascinating. So who would profit?