By Saba Hamedy
Los Angeles Times.
Amy Pascal opened up about what she learned from the Sony hacking experience at the Women in the World conference in San Francisco.
In a candid onstage interview with journalist Tina Brown on Wednesday, the departing Sony executive gave advice about being a female executive in the industry.
Sony announced last week that Pascal would transition to a producer role beginning in May. Over four years, her compensation will be $30 million to $40 million, people familiar with the pact told the Los Angeles Times.
The announcement came several months after a massive cyber attack on the company led to leaked troves of sensitive information onto the Web. The company also was forced to change its strategy for the release of the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy “The Interview.”
“I did learn that you should always say what you think directly to people all of the time,” Pascal told Brown in the onstage interview.
“I think the most important thing you can do is to be straight up.”
Women in the World’s YouTube account posted a eight-minute clip from the onstage interview.
“None of us can hardly imagine what it must have been like,” Brown said.
“No you cannot, I promise,” Pascal said, as the audience laughed.
Pascal also apparently commented on the management shakeup, but that was not included in the short YouTube clip.
According to a tweet from the Women in the World account, Pascal said: “All these amazing women sitting in this chair and all I did was get fired!”
Pascal, one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, came under scrutiny after hackers released some of her emails.
The emails showed the executive making racially insensitive jokes about President Barack Obama, fiery remarks about Angelina Jolie, drama over the Aaron Sorkin-penned biopic about Steve Jobs and other confidential exchanges. Pascal issued an apology for the remarks.
When asked about repairing relationships, Pascal said many in the industry understood the situation.
“The first person I talked to was Angie after that email,” Pascal said. “Everybody understood (about the emails) because we all live in this weird thing together called Hollywood. If we all actually were nice it wouldn’t work.”
However, Pascal said when news of the hacking first surfaced, she worried firstly about her employees.
“I ran this company and I had to worry about everybody who was really scared,” she said. “All of their social security was out there … people were worried about all kinds of things. But nagging in the back of my mind and I kept calling going, ‘They don’t have our emails right? Tell me they don’t have our emails.’ … well then they did.”
But being a female executive in the industry has its challenges.
“The hardest thing in any of these jobs is to be able to hear yourself,” Pascal said. “There’s so much noise coming at you all the time … there’s so many people … that want to be stroked and pleased and win. And sometimes you can substitute what other people’s needs are for what you think … all you have is your own gut and you have to protect that.”
In her new role, Pascal will oversee a Spider-Man film that will be made by a partnership of Sony and Walt Disney Co.-owned Marvel Studios.
Pascal told Brown she is both “looking forward” and “scared” of the change.
“You know, I’m 56,” she said. “That’s not exactly the time you want to start all over again but it’s kind of great and I have to. It’s going to be a new adventure for me.”
The studio is expected to replace Pascal, but has not yet named a successor.