Sony’s Amy Pascal Talks Hacked E-Mails and Angelina Jolie

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Tina Brown and Amy Pascal

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography

Amy Pascal was interviewed by Brown at the salon-type event that showcased women doing amazing things including providing showers for San Francisco’s homeless, rescuing African girls and empowering Muslin women. The standing-room only crowd knew it was in for an entertaining half hour with Pascal when the first words out of the embattled exec’s mouth were, “Every one of those women who were sitting in this chair are doing incredible things in the world. All I did was get fired.”

Here’s what else Pascal had to say:

On when she learned her personal email account had been hacked:

“There was this horrible moment where I realized there was absolutely nothing at all that I could do… whether I betrayed people, whether I said things that I didn’t mean. I couldn’t protect anyone—not their feelings, not what they thought of me. It was horrible because that’s how I figured I did all my job for all of my life. It was also strangely freeing—because all of a sudden it was just what it was. And so maybe that wasn’t the way I did my job.”

On why she felt compelled to make The Interview, the comedy about the assassination of North Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong-un, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco:

“Because it was funny…The thing is I love Seth and James. I made lots of movies with those guys. Somebody will make lots more movies with them. They are really brilliant. I think the company has been tested. And I thought it would make money and I thought it was funny. You know what? You don’t get to choose everything you stand up for… Not every time will you be standing up for something that is meaningful. Sometimes you just have to stand up for the right thing and it’s not the thing that you want to stand up for but it’s the right thing to do because my job is to make movies and sell them and stand by filmmakers and make money for my company. I can’t pick and choose once I’ve made that decision—and I don’t want to.

On people coming to her defense:

“There were amazing people who you didn’t even expect. Some people you knew would. But some people who were just completely unafraid, didn’t think about the repercussions for them and understood the bigger picture of what was happening. What was happening wasn’t about a bunch of stupid emails that I wrote. Somebody was telling us we couldn’t release a movie. It got completely…  distracting.

On the reaction from Jolie, who was called a “minimally talented spoiled brat” in an email from Scott Rudin to Pascal:

“The first person I talked to was Angie after that email (was leaked). Everybody understood because we all live in this weird thing together called Hollywood. If we all actually were nice, it wouldn’t work. She didn’t even care…  But everybody likes to make a big thing about it. People in my industry wanted to make more about it for their own reasons.”

On whether she was surprised by the harsh tone of the media’s criticism of her:

“I’m not supposed to say anything about that (pause) but I will say that I was. People, not the press, but people found reasons that going through my trash and printing it was an OK thing for them to do. They found a way to justify that and they have to live with that.”

On paying women actresses less than men:

“I run a business. (If) people want to work for less money, I’ll pay them less money. I don’t call them up and say, ‘Can I give you some more?’ because that’s not what you do when you run a business. The truth is, what women have to do is not work for less money… People shouldn’t feel grateful for jobs….They should know what they’re worth and say no.”

She also called major stars “bottomless pits of need. You’ve never seen anything like it.” She sarcastically said, “But they’re so great because they are this magical thing that no one else can be.”

On what she would do about NBC News’ chief anchor and managing editor Brian Williams, who was suspended without pay for six months after lying about being in a helicopter that went down in Iraq, if she were running that enterprise:

“You’re allowed to make one mistake. You can’t keep making them.”

On her future; she’ll shift to a producer at Sony later this year:

“I’m scared. I’m 56. It’s not exactly the time you want to start all over again, but it’s kind of great and i have to. It’s going to be a new adventure for me.”

Lava Mae Receives $50,000 Grant

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Tina Brown and Lava Mae Founder Doniece Sandoval

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography

In the evening’s other news, Doniece Sandoval, founder and executive director of Lava Mae, was surprised with a Toyota Driving Solutions grant for $50,000. Sandoval is using repurposed buses to offer showers to the homeless in San Francisco.

“It was an absolute and utter surprise,” Sandoval told Haute Living. “My job is to knock on corporations’ doors and sometimes I knock and knock and knock and nobody answers. To show up here tonight and a company is just giving me money for this is fantastic.”

Her first fundraiser, “Showered with Love: the Un-Gala,” takes place April 4 on Treasure Island. “It’s called the un-gala because everything we do, we do a little bit different,” Sandoval explained. “We’re a little bit like Apple. The idea is that we’re unveiling a new program, which we’re calling ‘coming clean.’ It’s kind of like an art installation. We’re capturing stories of people’s lives we touch because we’re trying to humanize the face of homeless  so people can stop the stereotype that it’s all bums or alcoholics or drug addicts because that’s just not the truth.”

Her goal is to get three more buses on the road to bring the total to four, which can provide 50,000 showers annually to San Francisco’s homeless.


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