EXCLUSIVE: Producer Scott Rudin has issued a public apology for the racially insensitive comments that surfaced last night in an exchange of hacked private e-mails between him and Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Amy Pascal. Joking references they made to black-themed films that President Barack Obama might like were not meant for public consumption, but they are hard to defend in the harsh light of a public forum, without context. Rudin made the point in this morning’s New York Times about this hacking breach was a criminal act, when he was asked about other hacked e-mails between the producer and Pascal referencing the movie on Apple’s Steve Jobs. Here, Rudin said he simply wanted to apologize.
“Private emails between friends and colleagues written in haste and without much thought or sensitivity, even when the content of them is meant to be in jest, can result in offense where none was intended,” he told Deadline. “I made a series of remarks that were meant only to be funny, but in the cold light of day, they are in fact thoughtless and insensitive — and not funny at all. To anybody I’ve offended, I’m profoundly and deeply sorry, and I regret and apologize for any injury they might have caused.”
It must be an awkward thing for Rudin or anyone to be called to account for years-old private e-mails, when everyone in Hollywood uses this form of communication for its expediency. It is an intense business, and back and forth can be bracing and the language rough, even though it is a shorthand between creatives and executives who’ve been in the trenches together and still have a drink when the movie makes it to the premiere.
I don’t think this will be the last time someone will be moved to apologize, as this Sony episode grows to become one of the most serious cyber breaches in corporate history. It will certainly change the way people communicate with each other.