ColorOfChange demands meeting with executives at Sony Pictures Entertainment to discuss troubling workplace philosophy and culture

Statement from Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org:

“It’s quite possible Amy Pascal thought the outrageously offensive ‘jokes’ she emailed to colleagues at Sony Pictures Entertainment would never see the light of day. Well, she was wrong. Her actions were unacceptable, and are indicative of larger problems at Sony Pictures. Thus far, over 32,000 ColorOfChange members have already called on Amy Pascal to be fired. We demand a meeting with Sony Pictures executives to discuss the troubling workplace culture that created this mess, as well as a path forward for the company.

“The ease with which Pascal’s sentiments were shared — which included speculation over President Obama’s favorite films (‘Django,’ ’12 years,’ ‘Or the butler. Or think like a man?,’ ‘Ride Along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.’), as well as the assertion that TV deals for celebrities are “the new Black babies” of Hollywood — tell us all we need to know about the deeply problematic philosophy and environment at Sony.

“They also reflect a continued marginalization of Black entertainers and exploitation of Black audiences at Sony, a company that has made over $1 billion dollars from films with predominantly Black casts, or with Black actors or actresses in leading roles, since 2011. Her outrageous behavior begs the question: How lucrative do Black entertainers and films need to be — and how loyal do Black audiences need to be — for executives like Amy Pascal to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve, both on and off screen?

“Additionally, the images of Black people we see across our media landscape shape the perceptions of viewers. When those perceptions are acted upon, they can mean real-life harm for Black people; less attention from doctors, harsher sentences from judges, and discriminatory practices in the workplace, just to name a few. Judging by what these tasteless jokes say about Amy Pascal’s attitudes towards Black people, we don’t think she has any business sitting at the top of an influential, media juggernaut like Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“The problems plaguing the entertainment industry don’t begin or end with Amy Pascal. That’s why we’ve launched represent.colorofchange.org; as an organization we are committed to working towards a media landscape that presents fair, humanizing images of Black people.

“It is imperative that Amy Pascal is held accountable here, and that Sony Pictures Entertainment confronts a corporate agenda that seems to view Black America as one big, lucrative joke.”

With over 900,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.

This is a press release reprinted with permission

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