The Most Scandalous Things We Learned from the Sony Hack

Sony building
Sony building

Sony’s internal documents are all over the Internet. (ABC News)

By now you’ve probably heard that Sony — the motion picture arm responsible for movies like American Hustle and Django Unchainedwas hacked last month.

The attack itself was massive, invading the databases of thousands of company computers. The documents revealed include medical information, gossipy emails, salary lists, movie budgets, PowerPoints, password lists, and internal memos. Though the FBI is still investigating the case, some suspect the source of the attack is the North Korean government itself (headed by noted lube enthusiast Kim Jong-un), as a response to the upcoming film The Interview. In the movie, Seth Rogen and James Franco play a bumbling team of TV journalists who land an interview with the country’s dictator and are then tasked by the CIA to “take him out.” Hilarity likely ensues.

Scene from 'The Interview'
Scene from 'The Interview'

James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview. (Associated Press)

No matter who is responsible for the leak, it has provided us with some delicious little tidbits about the otherwise secret communications of powerful, rich, Hollywood figures. Sort of like the perfect combination of a burn book and a bad Entourage script. Below, a list of some of the most surprising things we’ve learned thus far:

1. Movie producers actually sound like stereotypes of themselves.
This we know from a series of leaked emails (unearthed by Sam Biddle at Gawker) between Sony Pictures Co-Chairman Amy Pascal and producer of the upcoming Jobs biopic Scott Rudin. No need to understand the context of this conversation to pick up on the ridiculous language they’re using. Just read the first sentence: “I have zero guilt about doing what we said we were doing and the masturbatory call is a wank I have no time for.”

Email from Scott Rudin
Email from Scott Rudin

Other gems include Pascal’s “Do not f***ing threaten me,” and Rudin’s creative usage of the word “raped”: “Asking any of us to post one cent for overages out of our fixed comp,” Rudin wrote, “is about as offensive an ask as I have ever seen. I think if you include that in the proposal the movie will go away. Nobody needs to make a movie this badly — at least nobody in this group — to be raped in the process.”

And finally:

“I’m not destroying my career over a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for eighteen months so she could go direct a movie.”

That last quote is Rudin describing none other than Academy Award winning actress and Special Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie.

2. Movie producers joked about Obama being black.
Rudin, who we can agree at this point is horrible, and Pascal lamely joked about President Obama’s favorite actors and movies. BuzzFeed revealed this conversation, which began with Pascal inquiring what she should ask Obama at a breakfast they’d be attending.

Rudin responded: “Would he like to finance some movies.”

Pascal replied: “I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?”

To which Rudin responded: “12 YEARS.”

Then they very stupidly exchange a list of movies that star black actors. And Rudin finally says, “I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”

Good job, guys! You’ve identified his skin color.

3. Celebrities are really bad at picking alias names.

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman’s “Laura Brown” is the only acceptable fake name. (Woochit)

As you may know, some celebrities are just so gosh-darned famous that they need to book fancy hotel and restaurant reservations under fake names. Fusion reported a few of these from leaked “publicity bibles.” They’re pretty stupid:

  • Tobey Maguire goes as “Neil Deep,” which sounds very obviously fake.

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar goes by Neely O’Hara (not that you cared).

  • Tom Hanks alternates between Harry Lauder (fine) and Johnny Madrid (which, yes, was the name of a famous Scottish comedian, but also has a Carlos Danger ring to it).

  • Taye Diggs is literally Scott Diggs, which is literally his real name.

  • Rob Schneider goes by Nazzo Good, which also describes every movie he’s ever made.

  • Jude Law goes as Mr. Perry, which sounds like a role he was cast to play.

  • Jessica Alba is Cash Money. Sort of true, but not really a name, Jessica.

Honestly, the only acceptable one of the bunch is Laura Brown, Natalie Portman’s code name. Good job for knowing what normal sounds like, Natalie.

4. Even the people who make money off of Adam Sandler movies don’t like Adam Sandler movies.
In a trove of Sony’s workplace complaints, again discovered by Gawker, some employees expressed concern over the quality of the comedian’s films.

One email suggested the company “stop or reduce support for areas that have no more value (Sandler movies, DVD).” Another was a little more cruel:

“There is a general ‘blah-ness’ to the films we produce. Althought [sic] we manage to produce an innovative film once in awhile, Social Network, Moneyball, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, we continue to be saddled with the mundane, formulaic Adam Sandler films. Let’s raise the bar a little on the films we produce, and inspire employees that they are working on the next Social Network.”


“There are a lot of term deal personnel as well as creative personnel, yet we only release a dozen or so Columbia Pictures a year, for example. And will we still be paying for Adam Sandler? Why?”

Poor, rich Adam Sandler.

5. The forthcoming Steve Jobs biopic may be just as bad as the one that starred Ashton Kutcher.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs

Sorry, Steve. (The Verge)

A series of emails show that not much has been accomplished for the Steve Jobs biopic. You know, the one based on Walter Isaacson’s biography that we’re supposed to actually enjoy watching. Rudin and Pascal quarreled over funding and the lead casting for the movie, which ultimately led to a bitter professional breakup. Its future seems very unclear.

6. Sony’s PowerPoint presentations are lame.
The Photoshopping on this slide is special.

Sony PowerPoint slide
Sony PowerPoint slide

And they even offer tips for dealing with criticism of bad movies. For instance, After Earth:

Sony PowerPoint slide
Sony PowerPoint slide

7. At least more than one person in North Korea has had access to a computer.


Kim Jung-un by some computers. (Reuters)

Even if North Korea denies that it hacked Sony, the forlorn country praised the people who did. In a statement made last week, the dictatorship suggested it “might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers” who have joined North Korea’s fight against U.S. imperialism. So they might not know how to use a computer well enough to leak a company’s internal documents, but at least one or two people have access to Gawker.

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