And you shouldn’t have, either, the Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO said today at a panel in San Francisco sponsored by Vanity Fair. Addressing the massive cyber attack that crippled his company and leaked, among other things, his own personal e-mails for public consumption, Michael Lynton said, “The part that was distressing was the extent to which people decided to go through it…People come up to me at lunch and say, ‘I just read your e-mails with so-and-so, and it was interesting.’ To me, that’s an odd way to spend an afternoon.”
“The company was completely shut down. There was tremendous unrest among the folks at the studio . . . I don’t think it’s correct to be publishing those e-mails. I don’t think they were newsworthy.”
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Lynton said he hasn’t gone back through the leaked missives. “Of course, my correspondence was public, especially after Julian Assange decided to WikiLeaks it,” he said. “But I haven’t been back through it.”
After some publications reprinted the stolen material, he said, “the company was completely shut down. There was tremendous unrest among the folks at the studio . . . I don’t think it’s correct to be publishing those e-mails. I don’t think they were newsworthy. It sort of built on itself.”
At the end of the panel, VF reported, Lynton was asked why former Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal wasn’t “fired earlier” when sexist and racist messages between her and producer Scott Rudin were made public. “Amy did not leave the company because of those e-mails,” Lynton insisted. “I can understand that people were very upset by those e-mails, but that’s not the reason why.” Steve Jobs author Walter Isaacson, who moderated the panel, pressed Lynton on the point, demanding to know why the content of Pascal’s e-mails didn’t constitute a fireable offense.
“I think those were private correspondences between the two of them,” Lynton answered. “I think both parties apologized profusely for them and think they were taken out of context.”