*In the midst of serious backlash after its decision to pull “The Interview,” the studio has turned to Judy Smith, the woman upon which Shonda Rhimes based her “Scandal” fixer Olivia Pope.
After the premiere of “The Interview” was canceled, Sony received serious criticism from moviegoers, Hollywood’s hottest names and even President Obama after it decided to heed a threat from hackers to pull the movie or face further cyberattacks and new physical attacks at movie theaters showing the picture.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony hired Smith to help repair Sony’s image with the public.
Smith previously served as President George H.W. Bush’s deputy press secretary and started her own crisis management firm, Smith & Company. She has worked with high-profile clients like Monica Lewinsky, Wesley Snipes and Michael Vick.
Following President Obama’s remarks, Sony released a statement on Friday, explaining that much of the decision was in the hands of theater owners:
Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment. For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees’ personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film “The Interview” released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.
The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of “The Interview” was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film. This was their decision.
Let us be clear – the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it. Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice. After that decision, we immediately began actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform. It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.