Amy Pascal

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Amy Pascal
Born Amy Beth Pascal
(1958-03-25) March 25, 1958 (age 57)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Education Crossroads School
University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation Business executive
Film producer
Spouse(s) Bernard Weinraub (1997–present)
Children 1
Parent(s) Anthony H. Pascal
Barbara Pascal

Amy Beth Pascal (born March 25, 1958) is an American business executive and film producer. She served as the Chairperson of the Motion Pictures Group of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and Co-Chairperson of SPE, including Sony Pictures Television, from 2006 until 2015. She has overseen the production and distribution of many films and television programs, and was co-chairman during the late-2014 Sony Pictures Entertainment hack.

Early life and education[edit]

Pascal was born on March 25, 1958 in Los Angeles, California.[1] She is Jewish.[2] Her father, Anthony H. Pascal, was an economic researcher at the RAND Corporation who wrote about African American social inequality and the cost of AIDS.[1][3] Her mother, Barbara Pascal, was a librarian and owner of an art bookstore, Artworks.[1][3][4][5] Pascal attended Crossroads School in Santa Monica.[1][2] She then worked as a bookkeeper at Crossroads School while getting her international relations degree at UCLA.[1][2][4][6]

Career[edit]

Pascal started her career as a secretary working for producer Tony Garnett at the independent production company Kestrel Films.[7] From 1986 to 1987, she served as Vice President of Production at 20th Century Fox.[8]

Sony Pictures[edit]

Pascal joined Columbia Pictures in 1988, where she was responsible for the development of films including: Groundhog Day, Little Women, Awakenings, and A League of Their Own.[9] She left Columbia in 1994 and served for two years as the President of Production for Turner Pictures while Scott Sassa was president of Turner Entertainment.[10] During her time at Turner, Pascal hired Damon Lee as a development director.[11]

Pascal rejoined Columbia in 1996 as the studio’s President.[12] In 1999 Pascal then became Chair of Columbia Pictures.[13]

Pascal was named Co-Chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment in September 2006.[14][15] She also served as Chairman of SPE’s Motion Picture Group from December 2003 to February 2015.[16] Pascal and SPE’s Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton lead all of SPE’s lines of business, including: motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies.[17]

Pascal oversaw the production and distribution of a number of films including the Spider-Man franchise; the James Bond films Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, the first Bond film to gross over $1 billion at the worldwide box office;[18] The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons; Sony Pictures Animation’s The Smurfs, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Hotel Transylvania; and Best Picture Oscar nominees American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Zero Dark Thirty, Moneyball and The Social Network.[19][20][21]

Pascal, along with Lynton, also oversaw Sony Pictures Television (SPT), which produces and distributes television programming for multiple platforms in the U.S. and internationally.[22]

In 2013, Pascal was elected to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[23]

She clashed with investor Daniel S. Loeb, who accused both Pascal and Lynton of "poor financial controls."[5] Indeed, according to The Financial Times, "she employed an assistant who earned more than $250,000 a year, and had use of a private jet and other perks in keeping with Hollywood’s golden era rather than an age of austerity."[5] Moreover, Pascal herself earned US $3 million a year.[24] At the end of 2014 Pascal was the only woman at Sony to earn over $1 million per annum.[25][26]

Film producer[edit]

Pascal's contract with Sony was scheduled to expire in March 2015.[5] On February 5, 2015, Pascal announced she would step down in May 2015[27][28][29][30] and start her own production company, with a four-year contract for funding and distribution via Sony Pictures Entertainment.[28][29][31] She will produce both the Ghostbusters reboot film and the new Marvel Studios-produced Spider-Man reboot,[32] in addition to theatre and television work.[31] Pascal stated during a Women in the World discussion on February 11, 2015 that she had been "fired" by Sony.[33][34]

Activities and awards[edit]

In 2001, Pascal was honored with the Women in Film’s Crystal Award, which recognizes those whose work has helped to expand the role of women in the entertainment industry.[35] Pascal has been included in The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women in Entertainment Power 100 list and Forbes’ ranking of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.[36][37] As of 2014, she was ranked as the 28th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, up from 36th in 2013.[38]

Philanthropy[edit]

She serves on the Honorary Committee of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.[39] She has made charitable contributions to Teen Line.[40]

She was awarded the 2008 Humanitarian Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles which combats antisemitism and promotes human rights and tolerance.[41][42] She was introduced by former Sony Chairman Howard Stringer and received the award from actor Will Smith at the 2008 National Tribute Dinner, an annual fundraiser which raised US$2 million for the center.[43] In her acceptance speech, she said, "I believe in what the museum is committed to: not just the literal event of the Holocaust but not letting anything like that happen again."[43]

In August 2014, in the wake of the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, alongside more than 190 members of the Hollywood entertainment industry, she signed a petition condemning Hamas started by Creative Community for Peace, a pro-Israeli non-profit organization.[44][45][46][47] The petition read in part, “Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor can it be allowed to hold its own people hostage. Hospitals are for healing, not for hiding weapons. Schools are for learning, not for launching missiles. Children are our hope, not our human shields.”[44][45][46] However, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles suggested signing this petition "should not be confused with courage," adding "From the peaceful remove of (Jewish) privilege in Los Angeles, it asks little of one's conscience to sign a letter with 200 colleagues."[48]

Sony Pictures Entertainment Hack[edit]

On December 9, 2014, a group calling itself "Guardians of Peace" hacked into Sony's computer system using Shamoon malware, which led to the theft of internal company documents. The fallout became a major international diplomatic incident in North Korea–United States relations. In subsequent news coverage Pascal and producer Scott Rudin were noted to have had an exchange in these documents about Pascal's upcoming encounter with President Barack Obama.[49][50][51] Pascal suggested the president, who is black, would enjoy Django Unchained and The Butler (films which deal with slavery in the United States and the pre-civil rights era).[52][53]

Some news reports branded the exchange as "racially insensitive,"[5][49][50][51][54] while others called it "racist."[5][55][56] Pascal responded by saying "the content of my emails were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am," adding "I made a series of remarks that were meant only to be funny, but in the cold light of day, they are in fact thoughtless and insensitive — and not funny at all.”[51][57]

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton suggested the apology was not sufficient, compared her to Donald Sterling, and called for more diversity in Sony's hiring pool.[58] A New York Times columnist denounced the media's focus on Pascal's communications and many other emails released by the hack as "Giving Material Aid to Criminals", saying "at least the hackers are doing it for a cause. The press is doing it for a nickel."[59] In the popular press, coverage of the story was extended with actress and producer Lisa Kudrow suggesting Pascal should have known better, adding, "Don’t write anything you don’t want broadcast",[60][61][62] followed by billionaire real estate investor Donald Trump who suggested she should resign "for stupidity reasons."[63] At the Writers Guild of America Awards 2014 on January 7, 2015, Kudrow, who was the presenter, mentioned the Sony hack again, arguing that it was disturbing "because Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal thought that was witty banter." [64]

Color of Change, a civil rights organization, launched a petition in December 2014 calling upon Sony to fire Pascal from her role, arguing, "Pascal’s comments are confirmation of the manipulative, exploitative relationship corporations like Sony have with Black folks."[65][66][67] They added, "We must hold Pascal accountable here; not just for her horrendous comments, but also for her role at the helm of a corporate agenda that views Black America as one big, lucrative joke."[65]

Gender pay gap[edit]

After Pascal left Sony, she was interviewed about Sony Entertainment's gender pay gap that had been exposed by the leaks. Tina Brown asked Pascal to explain why actresses did not realize they were being paid less than male actors. Pascal said, "People want to work for less money. I'll pay them less money. I don't call them up and go, 'Can I give you some more?' ... what women have to do is not work for less money.... People should know what they're worth and say no."[68]

Women making less than their male counterparts and male co-stars learned of the difference from the hack, such as actress Charlize Theron, who had been able to obtain an additional $10 million in early January 2015 to match the fee of Chris Hemsworth, her male co-star in The Huntsman film production.[69] Gender pay discrimination was pervasive at Sony Pictures under Pascal, with only one of the seventeen studio executives earning more than $1 million per year being female according to the unconfirmed emails, and Columbia Pictures co-presidents of production Michael De Luca and Hannah Minghella serving in identical jobs but with a million dollar difference in pay.[70] Actress Patricia Arquette in her 87th Academy Awards acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress in February 2015 called for wage equality and said afterwards that the leaked Sony information showed the need for a constitutional amendment to end male–female income disparity in the United States.[71]

Personal life[edit]

Pascal married Bernard Weinraub, a former film-business reporter for The New York Times and playwright, in 1997.[4] They reside in Los Angeles, and have a son.[6]

Producer filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Bertet, Elsa (September 6, 2007). "Amy Pascal timeline". Variety. 
  2. ^ a b c "Amy Pascal". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Anthony H. Pascal". RAND Corporation website. 
  4. ^ a b c "Amy B. Pascal, Bernard Weinraub". The New York Times. August 10, 1997. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Garrahan, Matthew (December 19, 2014). "Amy Pascal: A studio boss caught in real-life thriller". The Financial Times. 
  6. ^ a b Miller, Daniel (January 15, 2014). "Sony Pictures' awards season takes pressure off Amy Pascal". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ Tim Arango (October 24, 2009). "Sony’s Version of Tracy and Hepburn". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Finke, Nikki (December 7, 2010). "Sony Reups Amy Pascal For 5 More Years". Deadline.com. 
  9. ^ "Amy Pascal Extends Long-Term Employment Agreement With Sony Pictures". Sony Pictures. December 7, 2010. 
  10. ^ Citron, Alan (August 25, 1994). "Pascal Named President of Production at Turner". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Singleton, John (December 17, 2014). "John Singleton on Sony Hack: Jokes by Amy Pascal, Scott Rudin Aren't "Racist"" (Guest Column). The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Bertet, Elsa (September 6, 2007). "Amy Pascal timeline". Variety. 
  13. ^ Eller, Claudia (December 16, 1999). "Columbia Pictures President Promoted to Chairwoman". LA Times. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  14. ^ Michael White (September 6, 2006). "Sony Names Pascal Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Unit (Update1)". Bloomberg. 
  15. ^ "Amy Pascal". Sony Pictures. Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  16. ^ Finke, Nikki (March 4, 2007). "Sony's Amy Pascal To Be Honored at Opening Night Gala". Films News and Views. 
  17. ^ James Gilmore (October 7, 2009). "PGA Honors Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal with Milestone Award". Producers Guild of America. 
  18. ^ McClintock, Pamela (December 30, 2012). "Box Office Milestone: Daniel Craig's 'Skyfall' Crosses $1 Billion Worldwide". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  19. ^ Ujala Sehgal (February 26, 2011). "OSCARS 2011: Here Are The Best Picture Nominees!". Business Insider. 
  20. ^ "Oscar nominations 2012: Is 'Moneyball' the best sports movie ever?". Los Angeles Times. January 24, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Oscars winners and nominees 2013: Complete list". Los Angeles Times. February 25, 2013. 
  22. ^ Orr, Bernard (December 7, 2010). "Sony extends contract of studio head Amy Pascal". Reuters. 
  23. ^ Kilday, Gregg (July 15, 2013). "Film Academy's New Board of Governors Includes Sony's Amy Pascal and Filmmaker Alex Gibney". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  24. ^ Berrin, Danielle (February 5, 2015). "Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal gets a graceful exit". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. 
  25. ^ Frizell, Sam (7 December 2014). "The 7 Most Outrageous Things We Learned From the Sony Hack". Time (magazine). Retrieved 16 February 2015. Only one female Sony employee earns more than $1 million. 
  26. ^ Copeland, Libby (December 5, 2014). "Sony Pictures Hack Reveals Stark Gender Pay Gap". Slate. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  27. ^ Faughdner, Ryan (February 5, 2015). "Sony co-chair Amy Pascal steps down after hacking scandal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  28. ^ a b Fritz, Ben (February 5, 2015). "Amy Pascal Steps Down as Head of Sony Pictures’ Film Business: Long-Time Executive to Start Film-Production Company in May". The Wall Street Journal. 
  29. ^ a b Rushe, Dominic (5 February 2015). "Amy Pascal steps down from Sony Pictures in wake of damaging email hack". The Guardian. 
  30. ^ Cieply, Michael; Barnesm, Brooks (February 5, 2015). "Amy Pascal Leaving as Sony Studio Chief". The New York Times. 
  31. ^ a b Nathan, Sara (5 February 2015). "Exclusive: Shamed Sony chief Amy Pascal is Out at studio after her email jibes about Obama's race were hacked by North Korea". The Daily Mail (London). 
  32. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (5 February 2015). "Amy Pascal to Step Down From Top Sony Post". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  33. ^ Michael Cieply, Amy Pascal Says Sony Pushed Her Out of Studio Post, The New York Times, February 12, 2015
  34. ^ Dave McNary, Amy Pascal Talks Getting ‘Fired,’ Sony Hack and Angelina Jolie Emails in Candid Interview, Variety, February 11, 2015
  35. ^ "Past Recipients Crystal Award". Women in Film. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  36. ^ "THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100". The Hollywood Reporter. December 7, 2011. 
  37. ^ "The 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. August 19, 2009. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  38. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  39. ^ "Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles: Honorary Committee". 
  40. ^ Abrams, Rachel (October 1, 2013). "Power of Women: Amy Pascal Supports Teenagers in Crisis With Teen Line". Variety. 
  41. ^ "Simon Wiesenthal Center to Honor Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group with its 2008 Humanitarian Award". Simon Wiesenthal Center website. May 2, 2008. 
  42. ^ "SWC 2008 National Tribute Dinner". Simon Wiesenthal Center website. 
  43. ^ a b Bill Higgins, No laughing matter, Variety, May 7, 2008
  44. ^ a b Maane Khatchatourian, Hollywood Stars, Executives Sign Petition in Support of Israel, Variety, August 23, 2014
  45. ^ a b More Than 190 Hollywood Notables Sign Pro-Israel Statement Criticizing Hamas, The Hollywood Reporter, August 23, 2014
  46. ^ a b Tony Maglio, Nearly 200 Hollywood Actors and Execs Sign Pro-Israel, Anti-Hamas Statement, The Wrap, August 23, 2014
  47. ^ Creative Community for Peace petition
  48. ^ Danielle Berrin, Hollywood Zionists are alive and well, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, August 24, 2014
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  50. ^ a b Variety Staff (December 11, 2014). "Sony’s Amy Pascal Apologizes for Obama Emails". Variety. 
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  52. ^ Matthew Zeitlin (2014-12-10). "Scott Rudin On Obama’s Favorite Movies: "I Bet He Likes Kevin Hart"". Buzzfeed. 
  53. ^ Hayley Tsukayama (2014-12-11). "A Sony exec cracks jokes about Obama’s race, and eight more bruising revelations from the Sony leak". Washington Post. 
  54. ^ Dockterman, Eliana. "Seth Rogen Thanks Sony Chief for Making The Interview". Times Magazine. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  55. ^ Sparho, Chris (December 13, 2014). "Sony employee alleges rampant workplace racism in leaked email days after studio head Amy Pascal's racist email exchange about President Obama went public". The Daily Mail (London). 
  56. ^ Cohen, Sandy (December 12, 2014). "Sony's Amy Pascal under fire for racist remarks". Detroit News. 
  57. ^ Barnes, Brooks; Cieply, Michael (December 11, 2014). "Sony Film Executives Apologize for Racially Tinged Emails About Obama". The New York Times. 
  58. ^ Campbell, Colin (December 11, 2014). "Al Sharpton Compares Sony Exec To Racist Ex-NBA Owner". Business Insider. 
  59. ^ Aaron Sorkin (2014-12-14). "The Sony Hack and the Yellow Press". New York Times. 
  60. ^ Khatchatourian, Maane (December 13, 2014). "Lisa Kudrow on Sony Emails: ‘Don’t Write Anything You Don’t Want Broadcast’". Variety. 
  61. ^ Lisa Kudrow Rips Sony Execs Over Leaked Emails: ‘Don’t Write Anything You Don’t Want Broadcast’ (Video), TheWrap, December 13, 2014
  62. ^ Ryan Gajewsk, Lisa Kudrow on Sony Emails: Execs Need "Boundaries and Accountability", The Hollywood Reporter, 12/13/2014
  63. ^ Martosko, David (December 16, 2014). "Donald Trump says Sony Pictures co-chief Amy Pascal should 'resign for stupidity reasons' after she sought help from Rev. Al Sharpton over racist emails revealed in hack". The Daily Mail (London). 
  64. ^ [1] Deadline.com
  65. ^ a b Couch, Aaron (December 18, 2014). "Civil Rights Group Asks Sony to Fire Amy Pascal Over Leaked Emails". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  66. ^ Molloy, Antonia (December 18, 2014). "Sony hacking: Civil rights group calls for Amy Pascal to be fired over 'racially-charged' leaked email exchange about Barack Obama". The Independent (London). 
  67. ^ "ColorOfChange: Tell Sony: Fire Amy Pascal!". 
  68. ^ Newcomer, Eric; Sakoui, Anousha (February 11, 2015). "Sony’s Pascal Defends Paying Women Like J-Law Less". BloombergBusiness (Bloomberg.com). Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  69. ^ Smith, Emily (January 7, 2015). "Charlize gets more than $10M deal after fighting for equal pay". pagesix.com (New York Post). Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  70. ^ Copeland, Libby (December 5, 2014). "Sony Pictures Hack Reveals Stark Gender Pay Gap". Slate. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  71. ^ Needham, Alex; Carroll, Rory (22 February 2015). "Patricia Arquette uses Oscars speech to call for equal pay for women". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 

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