*The Rev. Al Sharpton on Thursday said that “the jury is still out on where we go” with embattled Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal, who came under pressure after a cyberattack exposed her racist email exchange with a Hollywood producer.
However, Sharpton stopped short of calling for Pascal’s resignation, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Sharpton met with the studio head for 90 minutes Thursday at a Manhattan hotel where they agreed to set up a “working group” to deal with racial bias and the lack of diversity in the film industry.
Pascal’s meeting with Sharpton comes a week after she apologized for a leaked email exchange in which she made racially insensitive remarks about President Obama.
In a sidewalk news conference outside the Greenwich Hotel after their meeting, Sharpton said he told Pascal that the tone of the remarks in her hacked emails were the byproduct of “an exclusionary, almost all-white hierarchy… an environment that still resembles 1950s America.”
Pascal’s leaked exchanges with producer Scott Rudin included remarks that suggested Obama’s taste in movies would be limited to films with black themes and casts. Both have apologized for the remarks.
Sharpton said Sony had agreed to assemble a working group that will collaborate with Sharpton’s National Action Network, the National Urban League, the NAACP and the Black Women’s Roundtable on ways to address racial bias in Hollywood.
Urban League President Marc Morial, also present at the discussion, characterized the conversation as candid and productive.
“As far as moving forward, our interest is in changing Hollywood,” said Morial. “Our interest is seeing to it that Sony is on the right side of changing Hollywood.”
Both Sharpton and Morial said the federal government needed to take steps to prevent a repeat of the massive hacking that has left Sony in disarray for the last two weeks.
Sharpton also said he made his feelings known to Pascal about the decision to cancel the Christmas Day release of “The Interview” as a result of threats the hackers made to attack theaters that screened the film. “We discussed [that] there was a serious and dangerous precedent that has been established where anonymous hackers can intimidate the actual life in America,” he said.
Pascal did not appear after the meeting.