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The Sony Hack Really Revealed The Prevalence of White Privilege in Hollywood

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 5.00.56 PMThe Sony hacking scandal did more than just expose a few offensive emails and the gender pay gaps in Hollywood. What it really did was expose Hollywood’s acceptance of white privilege in the worst way.

That was the take of writer Eric Deggans on NPR.

Many of the emails showcased Sony co-chair Amy Pascal having racially insensitive exchanges with fellow colleagues commenting on everyone from the President to adopted African babies.

She later apologized for her comments, saying in a statement:

“The content of my emails were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am,” she said, adding that “although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended.”

After feeling the heat from her comments, Pascal reached out Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson “to discuss a healing process,” as she told The Hollywood Reporter.

But unfortunately after meeting with Pascal, Sharpton said, “The climate and environment of Hollywood only confirms the type of language that was used in those emails.” Sharpton also tweeted that the emails “show a cultural blindness.”

To combat this, a coalition of civil rights groups pledged to work with her and Sony.

“What these emails really reveal is how little Hollywood is willing to challenge the basic structures, practices and thinking that make it such a white-dominated industry,” Deggans wrote on NPR. “This seems to happen even when there’s evidence that breaking down those walls will actually make better films and more money.”

He went on to express how, though these emails might not really, as Pascal says, “reflect” who she is, they do reflect something larger.

“I also believe these messages are an accurate reflection of Hollywood’s attitudes about diversity, where assumptions are made without proof and even the president can find himself at the butt end of a racist joke between the most powerful people in town,” he wrote.

Instead of meeting with civil rights leaders, Hollywood should put their money where their mouth is and change things, he poses.

“The best way big shots like Pascal and [Scott] Rudin can prove they aren’t the people depicted in these emails is to challenge the status quo and insist on results. Break down any rule or practice that hinders bringing more diversity to executive suites, producing and directing ranks, and casting offices,” he said.

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