Dealing with the fallout from hacked emails which revealed a conversation full of racist jokes about President Obama’s taste in movies, Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal met with Al Sharpton and Marc H. Morial, President of the National Urban League, on Thursday.
Sharpton wrote on Twitter that there was a “very pointed and blunt exchange w/ Amy Pascal in our 90 min meeting. Hollywood needs to change. Her leaked e mails show a cultural blindness.” He added later that at the meeting they “agreed to work towards establishing a basis to address the issues, Ms. Pascal committed to this.” Morial, who was also in attendance at the meeting told The New York Times that he “left feeling that Amy is someone we can work with.” He continued: “It’s important that we look forward. Amy again expressed her deep regret and committed Sony’s help in pushing for far greater diversity in movies and television.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sharpton said that Sony committed to establishing a “working group” with various organizations to confront Hollywood’s race-related problems.
In the emails, as BuzzFeed revealed, Pascal and producer Scott Rudin joked about President Obama’s taste in movies based on his race. Discussing an upcoming event Pascal wrote, “Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” The two then suggested other movies with black stars. Rudin wrote, “Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”
Condemnation came quickly. For instance, Shonda Rhimes tweeted: “Calling Sony comments ‘racially insensitive remarks’ instead of ‘racist’? U can put a cherry on a pile of sh*t but it don’t make it a sundae.” Both Pascal and Rudin have apologized. Pascal said in a statement via Variety: “The content of my emails were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am.”
Sony did not immediately respond to EW‘s request for comment.