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Amy Pascal Discusses Getting “Fired,” Explains Unequal Pay for Women Under Her Tenure

Amy Pascal Discusses Getting "Fired," Explains Unequal Pay for Women Under Her Tenure

Amy Pascal has quite a busy producing schedule ahead of her, but her future projects didn’t stop her from being surprisingly candid at the Women in the World conference in San Francisco yesterday. 

Talking with Tina Brown, the outgoing Sony chair opened up about the hack that got her “fired,” paying Jennifer Lawrence less than her “American Hustle” colleagues, actors being “bottomless pits of need,” and “this weird thing called Hollywood” where niceness is no asset. 

Here are the highlights from their conversation, in which Pascal refused to apologize for what she felt was doing her job. 

On her presence at the Women in the World conference: “All the women here are doing incredible things in this world. All I did was get fired.” 

On her and Scott Rudin’s email exchanges about Obama and being accused of racism: 

“It was horrible. That was horrible. … As a woman, what I did was control how everybody felt about themselves and about me … and there was this horrible moment when I realized there was absolutely nothing I could do about whether I’d hurt people, whether I’d betrayed people. I couldn’t protect anyone. … It was horrible because that’s how I did my job.”

On paying Lawrence less money than her male counterparts: 

“I’ve paid [Jennifer Lawrence] a lot more money since then, I promise you. … Here’s the problem: I run a business. People want to work for less money, I pay them less money. … Women shouldn’t work for less money. They should know what they’re worth. Women shouldn’t take less. ‘Stop, you don’t need the job that bad.'”

On movie stars: 

“They’re bottomless pits of need. You’ve never seen anything like it. … [sarcastically] They are so great. They’re this magical thing that no one else can be. They’re filled with the need to be loved… but that’s because they’re magical.”

On how the hacked emails ultimately didn’t damage her professional relationships too badly: 

“Everybody understood because we all live in this weird thing called Hollywood. … If we all actually were nice, it wouldn’t work.” Even after it was revealed that Rudin called Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat,” Pascal shrugged, “Angie didn’t care.”

Ultimately, Pascal seemed most angry at the media. Expressing surprise at how the hack was covered, she fumed, “People found reasons that going through my trash and printing it was an okay thing to do. They found a way to justify that. And they have to live with that.”

[via Recode]

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a bottomless pit of greed accuses the others for being bottomless pits of need. cute.


Sure, perhaps being nice isn’t necessary but there is a lack of integrity here. She was just doing what everyone else does but it doesn’t make it right. Her justification for paying Jennifer Lawrence less is disgusting – she’s not taking responsibility for her perpetuating such unfair inequality – how is Jennifer or her agent/manager necessarily going to know what’s going on? It’s not necessarily Jennifer not valuing herself enough, it’s a system that systematically ensures women are paid less by curtailing their expectations, not being transparent and by them being valued less than a man in society. And if she is so disgusted by actors, why does she work in the industry?


As someone who has worked in this business for 25 years, I can tell you that being "decent" or "nice" isn’t necessary. It doesn’t even matter. What matters is if you produce good work. I admire Pascal for being candid about how it goes. You may not like it but it’s the same in Washington as it is in Hollywood. Also I kind of hate that women are supposed to be nice or decent when men aren’t — I’m saying in terms of expectation not necessarily behaviour.

James M.

Yeah, this is just a bunch of justification. She treated people like crap, and she got caught. Frankly, I like her even less now, and I didn’t care for her much to begin with. Not that she’d care, of course.


Amy, the world is what you make it. I understand that sometimes you have to be tough but I find it impossible to believe that there’s no place in Hollywood for common decency. You did as everyone else did instead of being brave and setting an example.

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