What I Learned from the Sony Hack

I’ve been meaning to talk about the Sony hack.

I think it’s fascinating. As an attorney, I’m confident their lawyers will have a steady workflow for the next year or two. As a person attempting to enter a creative field that is frequently tainted by structural biases and business priorities, I couldn’t help but eagerly grab the popcorn and watch as secrets were spilled.

Before I continue, let me say that I understand that this post, like many of my posts, concerns the movie/television industry and not publishing. That said, I think many of the issues affecting one are relevant to the other (e.g., the overexposure of certain plots/stories/tricks, the lack of diversity at every level, the assumption that consumers are generally stupid and bland, the high risk/high reward of pursuing a career in these fields, etc.).

Ok.  Here’s what I learned from the Sony hack:

1. Everyone is frustrated by the dumb shit that is actually made into movies. I came to this conclusion based on the Adam Sandler comments. Neither employees nor executives seem to like him or his movies. Yet…they still make them.

Do they not realize that they are the ones who actually have power to do something about it? I’m allowed to complain- not them! If they want to make better movies then…make better movies!

2. People are still comfortable being sexist. The gender pay gap that the hack revealed was really messed up. All of the male stars in American Hustle get a higher percentage of profits than Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence? How does that make sense? But what really bothered me was Aaron Sorkin’s comments that it’s easier for a woman to win an Oscar than a man because male performances are just harder to pull off.

O.m.g.

First, again- if you’re mad that women aren’t performing the way you would like, then maybe you should help create better roles (you know since you are a famous screenwriter with lots of power).

Second, I’m not convinced that just because Aaron Sorkin can’t appreciate the performances of women (the way he can those of men) that means they are actually worse. I’ve posted here before that one of the reasons it’s important to have diverse publishers, agents, etc. is that an old white man, for example, may not be able to appreciate all the nuances displayed in a young, black woman. I think something along those lines is happening with Sorkin.

3. People know better than to be blatantly racist, but there is probably still a race problem. Frankly, I thought the Obama comments were like whatever. They were joking, I get it. Buuut, I find it hard to believe that if these blatantly messed up gender issues exist at Sony that there also aren’t some questionable racial disparities and views floating around as well.

My only hope is that as the Sony execs embark on their apology tour (meeting with Al Sharpton, Judy Smith (the real Olivia Pope), etc.) they actually use the opportunity to try to internalize some of the issues and make some changes.

That’s all for now.

Happy new year!

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