James Franco defends Amy Pascal after Sony hack: 'I don’t think she should take the blame'

Pascal was forced to step down as co-chairman when her emails were leaked

Heather Saul
Friday 04 September 2015 15:17
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US actor, writer, artist and musician James Franco
US actor, writer, artist and musician James Franco

James Franco has defended the former Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal, who was forced to step down earlier this year after her emails were leaked during a major hack.

The actor found himself at the centre of a furore when Sony was targeted by hackers angered over the release of his film, The Interview, which involved a fictional plot to assassinate North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong Un. After demands and threats from North Korea not to release the film, a group called Guardians of Peace disseminated embarrassing emails and other private documents into the public domain.

Leaked emails included an exchange between her and producer Scott Rudin joking that President Obama would prefer movies such as Django Unchained. In another, Rudin called Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat”.

Pascal later apologised for the emails relating to Mr Obama and met with civil rights leaders. The hack ultimately led to Pascal stepping down from her powerful executive role to become a producer, a situation Franco bemoaned as a "shame".

"In the end it was a real shame that Amy Pascal had to step down because she was an incredible studio head, and I don’t think she should take the blame for, you know, what happened," he told The Independent.

Pascal spoke out about the hack for the first time in February, describing the panic felt by employees when it became clear Sony had been hit.

Amy Pascal

“I kept calling [the IT department] and being like, ‘They don’t have our emails, tell me they don’t have our emails.’ But then they did. That was a bad moment. And you know what you write in emails.

“I realised there was absolutely nothing I could do about whether I’d hurt people, whether I’d betrayed people.”

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