Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal quits after email hack

  • Published
Amy PascalImage source, AP
Image caption,
Amy Pascal is one of Hollywood's most powerful women, having worked at Sony for two decades

Sony Pictures' Amy Pascal has stepped down as co-chair of Sony's movie studio following a debilitating cyber attack that revealed her private emails.

Ms Pascal will start a production company that will launch in May 2015.

She has already apologised for certain revelations that came as a result of the leaked emails.

Last month, Sony condemned the "vicious" attack, which led it to suspend the release of the film 'The Interview'.

"I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energized to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home," said Ms Pascal in a statement.

She added that her transition to a production role had been discussed "for some time".

'Insensitive and inappropriate'

As part of the agreement, Sony will fund her production company for at least the next four years, and it will retain distribution rights.

Sony did not immediately name a successor to Ms Pascal, leaving Michael Lynton as the sole head of one of Hollywood's biggest production studios.

Ms Pascal was one of the highest profile Sony names whose emails were leaked as part of the hack.

She reportedly commented on the viewing habits of President Barack Obama in a derogatory manner in an email to producer Scott Rudin.

Ms Pascal and Mr Rudin both subsequently apologised for the emails, with Ms Pascal saying in a statement at the time: "The content of my emails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am.

"Although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended."

Hack fallout

On 24 November, Sony revealed that it had been the subject of a hack by a group calling themselves Guardians of Peace (GOP).

GOP was later traced back to North Korea, who US authorities believe instituted the attack in retaliation for Sony's decision to produce 'The Interview', in which North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un is killed.

The group gained access to the firm's network and stole huge amounts of internal information, including emails and copies of films, such as Annie, that had not yet been released.

Although Sony did withdraw The Interview before its planned release, it ultimately made it available to view online and allowed it to be shown at some cinemas.

The film made about $15m (£9.6m) through downloads alone over its first three days of distribution.