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Amy Pascal is opening up about her departure from her Sony post.
Pascal, who is stepping down as Sony’s co-chairman following the devastating hack on the studio, spoke to journalist Tina Brown at the Women in the World conference Wednesday in San Francisco, where she said she wasn’t sure she belonged at the event.
“All the women here are doing incredible things in this world — all I did was get fired,” Pascal said, according to Recode. It should be noted that official statements about her departure from the Sony gig had implied a mutual parting of ways, rather than a firing.
“Everyone knows everything about me,” Pascal continued. “What am I doing here?” Brown replied by saying, “None of us can imagine …” and Pascal cut her off with, “No, you cannot.”
Brown asked Pascal how she felt when she first realized her emails would be made public. “I ran this company, and I had to worry about everybody who was really scared … People were really scared … But nagging in the back of my mind, I kept calling [IT] and being like, ‘They don’t have our emails, tell me they don’t have our emails,’ ” she said. “But then they did. That was a bad moment. And you know what you write in emails.”
When asked about being called a racist for her messages about Barack Obama, Pascal said called the experience “horrible” but also “strangely freeing,” as there was nothing she could do about it. Pascal and Scott Rudin had joked in an email chain about Obama’s supposed taste in movies.
Some of Pascal’s email threads were scrutinized for harsh words about her showbiz colleagues, particularly messages between Pascal and Rudin, but according to Pascal, that’s the way the industry operates. “Everybody understood because we all live in this weird thing called Hollywood,” she said. “If we all actually were nice, it wouldn’t work.” Rudin had called Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat” in a leaked email, but Pascal told Brown: “Angie didn’t care.”
However, Pascal criticized the press for reporting on the contents of her leaked messages. “People found reasons that going through my trash and printing it was an OK thing to do,” said Pascal, who will work as a producer on several of Sony’s biggest projects. “They found a way to justify that. And they have to live with that.”
Brown asked about the revelation from leaked Sony documents that female stars such as Jennifer Lawrence earned less from the studio than their male counterparts. “I’ve paid [Jennifer Lawrence] a lot more money since then, I promise you,” said Pascal. “Here’s the problem: I run a business. People want to work for less money, I pay them less money … Women shouldn’t work for less money. They should know what they’re worth. Women shouldn’t take less. ‘Stop, you don’t need the job that bad.’ ”
As for what she has learned from the experience, Pascal said: “You should always say exactly what you think directly to people all the time.” She added that this is hard to do with celebrities, as they are “bottomless pits of need.”
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