Ed Driscoll

Should Sony Pictures Chair Commit Cinematic Corporate Seppuku?

“Mel Gibson & Racist Emails: H’Wood’s Only Choice Is to Exile Pascal & Rudin,” John Nolte writes at Big Hollywood, noting that Sony Pictures and its chairwoman have come full circle:

Make no mistake, I’m not calling for anyone to be fired. This is just an observation on my part that, due to Pascal’s and Hollywood’s own standards, there really is no other choice but to fire her and exile Rudin.

Pascal was one of the first Hollywood executives to exile Mel Gibson after news of his drunken anti-Semitic rant became public in 2006. The rest of Hollywood soon followed. One of Hollywood’s most bankable stars, who also happened to be an Oscar-winning director, was ruined. And for the last eight years (there was another incident in 2010) Gibson has remained ruined.

Gibson’s rants sickened me. So too do the Pascal/Rudin emails that diminish a black man (forget he’s our President) to the color of his skin and mock him over it. Worse, the exchange reads like two mean girls getting together to feel better about themselves through the petty act of lording their superiority over someone else. In this case, it can be interpreted as racial superiority.

“Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” says Pascal, according to the reported e-mails. Rudin writes back: “12 YEARS.” Pascal responds: “Or the butler. Or think like a man?” Rudin: “Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”

In a statement, Pascal said that the emails “are not an accurate reflection of who I am.”

I take her at her word. We all should. No one should be judged or defined by a single lapse of judgment.

Who Amy Pascal is as a person, though, is the not the issue here.

The issue is the message Hollywood sends to black America if racism hurled at a black man is forgiven when racism hurled at Jews is not.

As Nolte notes, “With the banishment of Mel Gibson, Hollywood set a standard. If that standard is broken for Pascal and Rudin, the message it sends to all of us, but most especially to black America, is unmistakable and inexcusable.”

The London Telegraph reports that Sony has suspended filming on numerous movie shoots (and other sources say all shoots) as a result of their recent hacking playing havoc with their ability to process payments, and adds this detail:

In an email to Amy Pascal, the co-chairman of Sony Pictures, Scott Rudin, who made Moneyball and No Country for Old Men, described Angelina Jolie as a “minimally talented spoilt brat” who possessed a “rampaging ego”.

On the same day that the hacked exposed an email exchange, the actress came face to face with Pascal at a Hollywood event.

A stony-faced and stiff Jolie glared at Pascal who attempted to embrace her, at the Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast on Wednesday.

John McCain never recovered in 2008 after he temporarily suspended his presidential campaign during the financial crisis of late September. Voters seemed to think he had given up his quest for the White House and permanently suspended his campaign. Perhaps Sony should consider permanently suspending its film business in the wake of this scandal.

Though for the first time and only time, I can’t wait to read what Maureen Dowd has to say about this topic…

Update: As always, Steve Green asks the important questions:

Since 9/11, Hollywood has increasingly rejected American audiences for the larger market overseas, hence their ubiquitous preteen-oriented zillion dollar 3D CGI-laden superhero movies. As Mark Steyn wrote last year, “Hollywood is now approaching the condition of Broadway in the ‘abominable showman’ David Merrick’s dotage: The shows are boring but the backstage machinations preserve the glamour a while longer.”

Since their product has put much of America on the sidelines, and we’re no longer active consumers of pop culture, pass the popcorn; sprinkle plenty of schadenfreude on top.