Embattled executive Amy Pascal is stepping down as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chairman of SPE Motion Picture Goup. Her departure comes in the wake of the computer hack perpetrated against Sony ahead of the premiere of the feature film The Interview and the subsequent release of leaked emails, executive salaries and other confidential studio information.
Pascal will officially vacate her current position in May and launch an independent production venture based at Sony.
Although Pascal had oversight of Sony Pictures Television, her focus was directed on Sony’s film business. She had been with the company since 1988, when she joined the staff of Columbia Pictures. Recent films produced under Pascal include Skyfall, The Amazing Spider-Man, Zero Dark Thirty and The Social Network.
Many of Pascal’s emails were among those leaked to the public in December after an attack against the studio’s computer systems believed to have been perpetrated by hackers working for the North Korean government, which was lampooned in the Sony film The Interview. Several emails in which Pascal wrote derisively of talent such as Angelina Jolie and Adam Sandler were among those leaked, as was an email exchange in which Pascal and producer Scott Rudin made racist jokes about President Obama’s taste in movies.
Bowing to threats of violence against theaters and potential patrons and caught amidst the hacking scandal that embarassed the studio, the movie became available online through Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and iTunes and the dedicated website www.seetheinterview.com on Christmas Eve.
The film opened to some 300 theaters on Christmas Day, a far cry from the 2,500 or more that were expected to be in play before things ran afoul. It subsequently ran in more independent theaters and then subsequently became available via In Demand, Netflix and Sony's Crackle OTT service
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