Leakgate is the talk of the town in Hollywood and around the country.
The leaked emails from Sony Pictures is causing a whole lot of of consternation for the movie executives whose private conversations were made public.
In particular the emails involving jokes about the kinds of movies President Obama would be interested in seeing are drawing the most criticism.
The email exchange between movie producer Scott Rudin and Sony co-chair Amy Pascal were initially deemed as “racially insensitive” by writers who reported on them.
But Shonda Rhimes of Scandal fame flat out called the email exchanges racist.
In a tweet Rhimes wrote, “Calling Sony comments “racially insensitive remarks” instead of “racist”? U can put a cherry on a pile of Sh*t but it don’t make it a sundae.”
That’s about as blunt as one can get on the subject.
However, movie producer Oprah Winfrey wouldn’t go as far as Rhimes when I asked her about it on Sunday night at the premiere of her new movie Selma.
“What I would say is, I would hope that we would not stand in judgment, in such harsh judgment, of a moment in time where somebody was hacked and their private conservations were put before the world. Because if we were to look at your computer and everyone else’s computer, because I try to write everything as though it’s going to show up in the New York Times. But there are things that you say in your private conversations, with your friends, with your colleagues, that you would not want to be broadcast on CNN. So I don’t know really the context of all those emails are. I have had things taken out of context and I know what it’s like to have somebody hammer and hammer and hammer on something that is taken out of context. So I cannot judge the executives of that company based upon one email. I would base them on their record, for what they’ve done for films in the past, what they’ve done for black films in the past. I don’t think you can make a judgment on one thing. ”
That was Oprah.
Now to another prominent movie producer of color at the same movie premiere, Tyler Perry.
“Here’s my opinion on it. I don’t know if Shonda knows Amy Pascal. I don’t know what was going on between the two of them. But I usually make it my business not to comment on information that was gained illegally. But in this case I have to speak out about Amy because I met her. I know her. If you look at her track record and her history of what she has done. There’s a $100M movie coming out called Annie with a little black girl as the star that could not be made without Amy Pascal. So I do not believe she’s a racist. I think we all make mistakes and say stupid things once or a joke here and there. But unfortunately this all came back to haunt her. But I do not believe that she’s a racist. I absolutely do not believe that.”
That said, Tyler Perry did go on to say that he believes there is a diversity problem in the industry that needs to be addressed.
Other actors of color at the Selma premiere did tell me that they believe the emails are racists and there is no other way to categorize it.
Many people commenting on social media feel the same way.
And I’m sure many TJMS listeners have similar feelings.
I don’t know Amy Pascal or Scott Rudin, so I don’t know if they’re racists.
But here’s something for all of us to think about; in the light of day, if your emails, texts or private exchanges were made public, would all of them pass the muster of such public scrutiny?