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The mood on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City has been understandably tense in the wake of the hacking scandal that has enveloped the studio, but leaders Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal did their best Thursday to reassure employees with festive cheer at its annual holiday party.
Lynton and Pascal addressed the unprecedented breach of security during their emotional remarks to the gathered employees. Lynton, who noted that he started at the company 11 years ago to the day, agreed it had been a long year for Sony before thanking staff members who had “persevered” over the past 10 days since the “malicious” cyber attack first hit the studio on Nov. 24. A group calling itself Guardians of Peace has taken credit for the hack.
The studio chairman also said that he was sympathetic to anyone left feeling “violated or angry” as a result of having their personal information made public, which reportedly has included the Social Security numbers of some 47,000 current and former employees, as well as salary information for a long list of executives. “This is a family I feel even more proud to be a part of,” Lynton said.
Pascal sounded an even more resilient note.
“On any Friday night, we can shift the world on its axis, and if anybody wants to stop us, they’re going to have to do a whole lot more than breach a firewall,” Pascal told the crowd to a round of applause, before expressing her gratitude to the studio’s crisis team. “They have done a job that’s so exemplary that Michael and I are speechless.”
Insiders on the lot say it was “business as usual” during the rest of the holiday bash, with studio staffers collecting canned goods and donations for charity while gifts were also contributed as part of the Spark of Love Toy Drive.
Read more Studio Hack Points to an Inside Job
It hasn’t been all hacking news coming from Sony this week. The holiday party comes on the heels of major James Bond news direct from London. Sony, MGM Studios and Eon Productions announced the title of the 24th film in the franchise — to be called Spectre — as well as new castmembers who will join Daniel Craig in the Sam Mendes-directed project, among them Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott and Monica Bellucci.
The studio also conducted a press day Thursday for its upcoming holiday pic Annie, due in theaters on Dec. 19.
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