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The Center for Early Education’s digital servers have been breached in recent weeks, and law enforcement is investigating, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. One or more hackers have published staff payroll documentation in email blasts riddled with racist, sexist and homophobic language.
“It’s a shitshow,” says one individual close to the situation. THR is informed that private security personnel and federal law enforcement officials have been notified and commenced investigative inquiries. Sources say they have been told that the FBI is investigating. The FBI declined to comment.
The Center for Early Education in West Hollywood educates children of top entertainment executives and high-profile talent. Due to the pandemic, this academic year has required an unprecedented reliance on internet tools not just for virtual learning but to augment other aspects of the school experience, including communication with parents. The Center declined to discuss the breach with THR.
The intruders’ messages, in some cases framed as party invites — and featuring, in at least one instance, as a seeming lure, the name of a prominent parent in the subject line — were sent to children as well as their proxy contacts, including family members and other care providers. (Presumably drawn from the students’ internal school profiles.)
One note featured rhetoric suggesting that white teachers should receive pay raises.
The Center has longstanding, intimate ties with Hollywood. To protect the privacy of minors, The Hollywood Reporter does not disclose the names of current students. However, the Center’s alumni include Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jonah Hill, while its board features former Disney COO Thomas Staggs.
March 3, 6:31 pm: The initial version of this story incorrectly stated the Windward School and Carlthorp were also targets of the hack. The schools have since stated they were not part of the breach.
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