Since the Sony hack revealed some distasteful emails between Sony Pictures Entertainment executives Amy Pascal, Scott Rudin, Clint Culpepper and Michael Lynton, no one has come to their defense, until now. Film director John Singleton penned an essay for The Hollywood Reporter where he defended his friends and said he was able to see the humor in their comments.
Pascal's and Rudin's comments in the hacked Sony emails are troubling, but from my perspective they don't read as "racist." These two people have consistently hired people of color. They stand different from industry figures who would never hire a black person, no matter how qualified, for any position. We are currently in a polarized environment where offhand remarks told in bad taste get propagated to undermine a person's whole history. This is a dangerous thing for America and especially for Hollywood, a media community built on bad taste and candor. When I read their comments, I see the humor, even if some people would find it unacceptable.
I don't think either of these figures is racist or insensitive to any group. I've butted heads with the both of them and came out feeling I was treated fairly. Rudin, as anyone in this business knows, can be a bear to work with, but he's also one of the most intelligent, driven producers in Hollywood. Like the professor in Whiplash, he demands the most from everyone. I learned a lot working with him.
The Boyz In The Hood director wrote about the first time he met Rudin and how Pascal has helped him throughout his career. He and Pascal worked together on his film Baby Boy, where Singleton says "she was the first studio head to give me contractual final cut, the holy grail for director."
Singleton went on to say that due to racially charged news that is dominating the media many are living in fear, which can make someone (the Sony execs) act irrational and added that "the facilitators of creativity cannot fully function in a fearful environment."
In one of the leaked email threads, Pascal and Rudin joked about what to ask President Barack Obama during a 2013 fundraising breakfast hosted by Dreamworks' Jeffrey Katzenberg.
“Would he like to finance some movies," Rudin wrote. Pascal wrote b, “I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” Rudin replied “12 YEARS," to which Pascal responded by naming other films starring African-Americans: “Or the butler. Or think like a man? [sic].”
Read the full letter over at The Hollywood Reporter.