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This story first appeared in the 2014 Women in Entertainment issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Traditionally, the week after Thanksgiving is a relatively dull one in Hollywood — grosses are down, folks are still recovering from a long weekend of borrowing screeners, and the town is counting down to Golden Globe noms (Dec. 11) and the agencies closing (Dec. 19). But early December turned out to be full of surprises (thanks, National Board of Review and A Most Violent Year?), including a turn of events that has all the elements of a blockbuster movie: international intrigue, widespread devastation, secrets revealed, an unseen enemy and even revenge. I am talking, of course, of the Sony Hack.
The Sony Hack, by Hollywood standards, is something so awful and panic-inducing that even those folks driving around in their schadenfreude-fueled Teslas feel terrible for the Sony team. Information may be power, but in this case, information is embarrassing, revealing and even shocking. Terabytes are being used to terrorize an institution. So while the town is scouring this information and lighting candles in the hope that it doesn’t happen to them, it seems worth noting that these documents contain one very big NON-SURPRISE — and that is the fact that the highest-paid executives at Sony are predominantly middle-aged men. The list of the top 10 earners had only one woman — Amy Pascal — who has been doing the job for more than 25 years, while the longer published list (with bonuses!) actually did include her protege, Hannah Minghella, who shares the title of president of production, Columbia Pictures, with Michael De Luca — but not his tax bracket. And that was basically the sum total of women whose information was worth noting on a spreadsheet.
Was anyone really shocked to read this? These facts seemed to be met with an industrywide shrug, as if to say, “Yep, that’s the way it is.” The fact that Hollywood was and still is an old boys’ club isn’t news. Some folks put it off to the fact that Sony is a Japanese company, and that’s a convenient rationale. But the reality is that this is just another example of how the entertainment business is now trailing other more innovative industries that are focused on the future and not on propping up the past. The cliche “it’s lonely at the top” may be true. And while Amy Pascal can console herself with the fact that she has the same salary as her boss, Michael Lynton, at least on the Sony lot, she is the loneliest executive of all.
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