Sony Pictures boss Amy Pascal steps down: Her embarrassing leaked e-mails

Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal is stepping down after her embarrassing e-mails were leaked in a hack attack on the studio. -- PHOTO: REUTER
Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal is stepping down after her embarrassing e-mails were leaked in a hack attack on the studio. -- PHOTO: REUTER

Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal is stepping down after her embarrassing e-mails were leaked in a hack attack on the studio.

The e-mails mentioned some of the biggest names in Hollywood and even United States President Barack Obama. We take a look:

Angelina Jolie

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An exchange between Pascal and film producer Scott Rudin slams actress Angelina Jolie as a "minimally talented spoiled brat" with a "rampaging spoiled ego".

Rudin learnt in February 2014 that Jolie wanted David Fincher to helm her Sony remake of Cleopatra instead of a Steve Jobs biopic. He e-mailed Pascal: "You better shut Angie down before she makes it very hard for David to do Jobs."

Pascal swore, telling him not to threaten her. "I have been asking you to engage with me on this for weeks," she wrote.

He hit back: "There is no movie of Cleopatra to be made (and how that is a bad thing given the insanity and rampaging spoiled ego of this woman and the cost of the movie is beyond me) and if you won't tell her that you do not like the script... let me tell you I have zero appetite for the indulgence of spoiled brats and I will tell her this myself if you don't."

Cleopatra, he said, is "a $180m ego bath that we both know will be the career-defining debacle for us both", adding: "I'm not destroying my career over a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for eighteen months so she could go direct a movie... She's a camp event and a celebrity and that's all and the last thing anybody needs is to make a giant bomb with her that any fool could see coming."

Leonardo DiCaprio

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"Actually despicable," Pascal wrote in an e-mail about actor Leonardo DiCaprio, after he changed his mind about appearing in a Steve Jobs biopic.

Barack Obama

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Pascal, in a racially-tinged exchange with Rudin before a fund-raiser in November 2014, joked about United States President Barack Obama's imagined movie tastes.

"What should I ask the president at this stupid Jeffrey breakfast?" she asked Rudin.

"Would he like to finance some movies?" Rudin asked.

"I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?" she wrote, referring to Django Unchained, starring Jamie Foxx about an ex-slave's revenge.

Rudin replied: "12 YEARS," suggesting 12 Years A Slave, another slavery movie.

"Or the butler. Or think like a man?" Pascal responds, naming the Lee Daniels movie and the Kevin Hart movie.

Rudin wrote: "Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart," referring to a comedy from Universal Pictures starring Hart and Ice Cube.

Both later apologised.

George Clooney

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A positive exchange, for once. The actor and director, who made The Monuments Men, wrote to Pascal in January 2014, a week before the film opened, apparently anxious about the impending launch.

He wrote: "I need some protection from all the reviews. Let's just make it a hit. I haven't slept in 30 hours. And it's 7am."

Pascal replied: "We will protect you by making money... that's the best revenge."

Clooney responded the day after: "I adore you Amy. You are literally the only person running a studio that loves film. I fear I've let you all down. Not my intention. I apologise. I've just lost touch.. Who knew? Sorry. I won't do it again."

Seth Rogen

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A scene in The Interview, Rogen's controversial movie about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was edited after worries from Sony's top management.

Pascal confided in a September 2014 e-mail to Rogen that Sony headquarters had never before intervened in her work.

She said: "As embarrassing as this has been from my point of view, you have to appreciate the fact that we haven't just dictated to you what it had to be.

"Given that I have never gotten one note on anything from our parent company in the entire 25 years that I have worked for them."

Pascal had earlier assured Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai that in one edited scene, in which Kim's head explodes, "there is no face melting, less fire in the hair, fewer embers on the face, and the head explosion has been considerably obscured by the fire, as well as darkened to look less like flesh."

Adam Sandler

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Pascal called the comedian an "a**hole" after Sandler requested US$200 million (S$269 million) for a movie based on the board game Candy Land.

"Adam is an a**hole and this is more his fault than anyone's but what we did was not communicate with each other and make assumptions," she wrote.

In a different exchange with Sony Pictures Animation president of production Raimo Kouyate, Pascal said "they are such a**holes" after Sandler wanted his producing partner Allen Covert to receive an extra US$100,000 for his work on the upcoming Hotel Transylvania 2.

Aaron Sorkin

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The renowned screenwriter clashed with Pascal over a script that he was to write. Pascal wanted him to adapt the book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, while Sorkin himself wanted to work on a script for Molly's Game, written by Molly Bloom, who reportedly ran poker games for Hollywood A-listers.

After Sorkin's agent wrote to Pascal in November 2014 saying that Sorkin would pass on Flash Boys, she said in an e-mail to fellow executives: "He is broke… He wants to get paid… We paid him his insane fee on flashboys… When the poker movie came around we didn't want to not be in Aaron business so we wanted that too… I don't care if Aaron is sleeping with the girl or not… I don't care if it becomes a best seller… They are treating us like s**t."

Sources: The Straits Times, The Daily Mail