More hacked emails from Sony Pictures executives reveal an executive suggesting the company not use Black actors like Denzel Washington because the movies won’t appeal to foreign markets—while backhandedly complimenting him as “the best actor of his generation.”
These emails obtained by Radar Online are only the most recent in a string of correspondences posted by hacker group, Guardians of Peace, in protest of Sony’s newest movie The Interview. The emails were reportedly sent out just after the release of Washington’s most recent film The Equalizer. Written to Sony chairman Michael Lynton, the unidentified producer suggests that Sony should avoid casting Black actors in order to attract the international market, which the producer deemed to be racist.
He or she prefaced the email by saying that they hoped it wouldn’t be seen as “inappropriate or provocative.”
“No, I am not saying The Equalizer should not have been made or that African American actors should not have been used (I personally think Denzel is the best actor of his generation),” the producer wrote.
“Casting him is saying we’re ok with a double if the picture works,” the producer goes on, using baseball jargon. “He’s reliable at the domestic [box office], safe, but has not had a huge success in years. I believe whenever possible the non event pictures, extra ‘bets’ should have a large inherent upside and be made for the right price. Here there isn’t a large inherent upside.”
Though the film grossed $191 million at theaters worldwide, with half of the ticket sales coming from abroad, the producer still claims that Washington’s race is impeding the movie’s success.
“I believe that the international motion picture audience is racist — in general pictures with an African American lead don’t play well overseas,” the producer whose name was removed from the emails wrote. “But Sony sometimes seems to disregard that a picture must work well internationally to both maximize returns and reduce risk, especially pics with decent size budgets.”
Sony pulled the Christmas release of the comedy about an attempted assassination of the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, after the hackers released a note that read:
“Warning. We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY.”
“Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film,” said a spokesperson for the studio on Wednesday.