In the wake of stolen emails revealing that movie studio executives are not the tactful, considerate, eloquent champions of the cinematic arts we all assume them to be, the most targeted victim of those leaks, Sony’s Amy Pascal, is stepping down as the studio’s co-chair. This is surely what hackers in North Korea, or Russia, or China, or the rogue sovereignty of people who enjoy enraging Aaron Sorkin wanted when they first set out to end Pascal’s reign of terrible interoffice communication.
Of course, “stepping down” is a euphemism both for Pascal getting ousted—the inevitable head that must roll in order for Sony to distance itself from the embarrassment of last year, and give the illusion that things are different now—as well as for her “transition” to a “new chapter.” That “new venture” will be Pascal heading up a “major production venture” at Sony, which will keep her at the studio where she’s served most of her career. But more importantly, not in a position where people can still point to her as evidence that Sony still hasn’t recovered.
For her part, Pascal claims in a statement, “I have been talking about this transition for quite some time”—ostensibly long before the hack—and that this is all the fulfillment of “a long-held dream” to stop being the successful co-chair of a major motion picture company, and instead concentrate on producing more Spider-Man and Ghostbusters movies. What a delight it must have been these last few months, to see her dream finally coming true.
While many assumed Pascal was in danger of losing her job almost immediately after those hacked emails revealed her tense love-hate relationship with producer Scott Rudin, her innermost thoughts on various celebrities and their degrees of being difficult, and the jokes she shared about whether President Obama only likes black movies, Pascal has spent those months insisting everything’s fine. In fact, Vanity Fair ran a piece just yesterday profiling a far more cautious, yet still cautiously optimistic Pascal, who’d switched to using “four separate handheld devices with various names and passwords,” while also keeping her emails “shorter and safer,” and less riddled with jokes, insults, or stream-of-consciousness poetry about why a movie sucks.
Unfortunately, that’s all obviously too little too late. The damage is done, and so Pascal’s long tenure as one of the industry’s most successful studio heads must come to an end. Surely this will now restore Sony’s fortunes, much as this entire debacle has restored a sense of politesse and decorum to how movie executives conduct themselves.