All Articles Tagged "sony"

Sony Hackers Threaten Company To Delete “The Interview” Footage… Or Else

December 22nd, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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In the latest news from the Sony hack, the hackers who go by the name Guardians Of Peace (GOP) sent Sony executives a message regarding the company’s new film The Interview. CNN reports GOP told Sony it was very wise of them to cancel the debut of the film. The controversial film is targeted by the North Korean government because the film’s plot revolves around an assassination plot North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. A plot that involves Seth Rogen and James Flacco.

The hackers requested Sony never release, distribute or leak the movie in any form, that also goes for DVDs or any type of piracy. GOP would also like for all The Interview trailers to be deleted from any websites that are hosting them to be played. If Sony obeys these requests, GOP will no longer harm their security system. They noted: “We still have your private and sensitive data… ensure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble.” The Sony security team believes the GOP’s message to be authentic and they will take heed to their request.

Despite the threats and leaks President Obama, disagreed with Sony’s decision to not release The Interview. He said during last week’s presser:

“I am sympathetic to the concerns that they face. Having said all that, yes I think they made a mistake. We cannot have a society where some dictator someplace can impose censorship here in the U.S.”

In the last week, the Sony hack has revealed several emails where executives mocked various celebrities including Denzel Washington, Kevin Hart, Angelina Jolie and President Obama. It also produced sexual harassment claims from a Black female employee. Civil rights group Color Of Change recently launched a petition for Sony Executive Amy Pascal to be fired because they believe the Sony corporation continues to marginalize their Black entertainers and audience.

H/T Complex 

Heading To Hollywood: Sharpton To Advise Sony Pictures

December 19th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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PNP/WENN.com
PNP/WENN.com

Soon after damaging emails were revealed due to the cyber attack on Sony, exec Amy Pascal reached out to the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson in hopes of defusing the fallout.

Pascal actually met in person with Sharpton. The meeting, behind closed doors at the Greenwich Hotel, also included National Urban League president Marc Morial.

And as a result of that meeting, Pascal will now allow Sharpton to have a say in how Sony makes motion pictures. It’s in an effort to combat what Sharpton called “inflexible and immovable racial exclusion in Hollywood,” reports The New York Post.

“We have agreed to having a working group deal with the racial bias and lack of diversity in Hollywood,” said Sharpton.

According to Sharpton, Sony will work closely with his National Action Network, ​the ​National Urban League, ​the ​NAACP, and the Black Women’s Round Table to “see if we can come up with an immediate plan to deal with it.”

“Our interest is seeing to it that Sony is on the right side of changing Hollywood,” Morial said.

Sharpton said the meeting was “candid” and feels Pascal, who made racist remarks about President Obama with Hollywood producer Scott Rudin, should be given the chance to make changes.

“So the jury is still out on where we go with Amy,” Sharpton said. “We clearly are willing to deal with an immediate formula to see where we deal with breaking down the walls of inflexible and so far immovable racial exclusion in Hollywood.”

Sharpton was also displeased with the hackers, who the FBI claims were working on North Korea’s behalf.

“We are outraged by the bullying that is being done right before Christmas around this hacking,” Sharpton said.

Sony Seeks Out The Fixer: Judy Smith–The Real Olivia Pope–Has Been Called In

December 19th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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The fixer to the rescue! The real Olivia Pope, crisis guru Judy Smith has been tapped as a behind-the-scenes adviser in the Sony hacked email scandal (no pun intended). Smith is the inspiration for the main character on hit ABC TV show Scandal.

There has been major fallout from the Sony hack, including racist and insulting comments about some of Hollywood’s top stars by Sony execs, and the decision by the studio to drop the film The Interview hasn’t been well received. And according to a TMZ exclusive, Sony is hoping Smith can help them turn all this negativity around.

Smith founded Smith & Company, which is one of the top crisis management firms in the country. You may recall Paula Deen hired the firm to help her come back following her admission to making racist remarks in the past.

According to TMZ, “Smith has been especially helpful to Sony because of her deep contacts with the government, and she has been involved on both the D.C. and Hollywood fronts.”

In fact, say sources, it was Smith and other members of the Sony crisis team who put out the recent spin that this racist and sexist mindset is not merely a Sony issue but an industry wide issue.

The crisis team is also pushing the message that the decision to kill the film was in large part to protect the safety and welfare of its employees.

If anyone needs a fixer, it’s Sony.

Latest From The Sony Hack: Denzel Won’t Make As Much Money Overseas Because Of His Skin Color

December 18th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Denzel sitting down with British host Graham Norton. Courtesy of Wenn

Denzel sitting down with British host Graham Norton. Courtesy of Wenn

Wait what?? Yes, you read that headline right.

The Sony dump of hacked emails continue, and today we have a message to Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, a producer with the company, in which someone says Denzel Washington wouldn’t be a big moneymaker in the starring role of a Sony movie because he’s Black and overseas audiences wouldn’t be receptive to him. The movie turned out to be The Equalizer and, according to The Daily Mailthe movie made half of its money overseas. So that debunks that idea.

The author of the email blamed the expected lower box office receipts on “the racism of non-American audiences,” says the Mail. They went so far to suggest that the company should avoid casting Black actors if it wants to have optimum appeal abroad.

“Writes the producer of Washington, ‘Casting him is saying we’re ok with a double if the picture works.’ A double as opposed to a homerun,” says the paper.

The film made $191 million total, 47 percent of that internationally. The film was also directed by a Black filmmaker, Antoine Fuqua, FYI.

Box Office Mojo says Denzel has made more than $2.2 billion over the span of his career. The Equalizer was his fourth highest grossing movie. Number one was 2007’s American Gangster, in which he starred with a very diverse cast. That made more than $130 million in the US and more than $136 million abroad. American Gangster is a Universal movie.

Separately but related, we brought up the question of international appeal when we sat with Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan in January. They are the director and star of Fruitvale Station, the film based on the shooting death of Oscar Grant in the Bay Area. The film was a critical and box office hit, a surprise for an indie film about a local incident. But the pair, as well as the rest of the cast, traveled to Cannes to showcase the film and got raves.

We wrote at the time:

“We had an idea that people from the Bay Area would get it, but farther? People were swarming Michael [B. Jordan], barely speaking English,” Coogler said of the overseas experience. “It was extremely gratifying.”

“There was concern about a black director and a black film. But it’s about humanity. Cannes solidified that. The standing ovation was gratifying,” Jordan continued.

The world is ready to see all kinds of stories and actors on the big screen. The question is whether the studios are ready to bring it.

Darius Stone? Taye Diggs, Ice Cube & Other Celebrity Aliases Revealed In Sony Hack

December 10th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Image Source: WENN.com

Image Source: WENN.com

Last week, the Sony Pictures‘ database was hacked with private information on actors’ salaries, Social Security numbers, and how much employees dislike  Adam Sandler exposed. According to Fusion.Net, the hacking group called “Guardians Of Peace,” also released the phone numbers and email addresses of celebrities, directors and producers who have worked on movies together. Although we don’t have the phone numbers of your favorite stars, we do, however, have the aliases they use for vacation stays and car services. And many of them are seriously LOL.

Taye Diggs goes by Scott Diggs (and it’s actually his real name). Jude Law is known as “Mr. Perry” and Ice Cube usually interchanges between “Darius Stone” or O’Shea Jackson (his government name).

Jessica Alba, Rob Schneider and Sarah Michelle Gellar have more interesting aliases: Cash Money, Nazzo Good and Neely O’Hara respectively.

Current Sony Pictures employees are infuriated by their personal information being leaked but former employees told Fusion they are not surprised it happened.

In an exclusive statement to Fusion, a former employee reported: “Sony’s ‘information security’ team is a complete joke. We’d report security violations to them and our repeated reports were ignored. For example, one of our Central European website managers hired a company to run a contest, put it up on the TV network’s website and was collecting personally identifying information without encrypting it. A hack of our file server about a year ago turned out to be another employee in Europe who left himself logged into the network (and our file server) in a cafe.”

Sony Pictures has yet to comment on their security breach and interestingly enough Jason Spaltro, who is the Senior Vice President of Information Security and aware company passwords were not strong enough is still employed. It is unclear if his employment or salary ($300,000) will be affected due to the hack.

Publicist Files Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Sony

March 17th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Sony is being accused of carrying out a racially charged vendetta against a well-known publicist,” TMZ reports. Courtney Barnes, who has been linked to artists such as Brandy and Fantasia in the past, insists that he was not only targeted, but fired by Sony executives because he’s black.

The way the story is being told, Courtney was hired to work as Fantasia’s publicist approximately one year ago; however, he was fired just days later by the “Side Effects Of You” singer’s manager. Courtney claims that the manager told him that the Vice President at Sony, Sarah Dennison, hated him and wanted him fired. He also alleges that he was told that the V.P. was so adamant about Courtney being let go that she threatened to sabotage Tasia.

According to Courtney, Sarah’s negative opinions about him were formed solely off of hearsay and rumors that he engages in “shady business practices.” As for where the alleged racism comes into play in the whole fiasco, Courtney says “shady business practices” is code for racism. To make matters more interesting, he adds that outside of a brief handshake, he has never even dealt with Sarah, which would make it impossible for her to form a substantive opinion about him.

Courtney argues that the firing totally ruined his career and that Dennison’s negative campaign against him also cost him a job with Brandy. As a result, he’s suing Sarah and Sony for $250,000 in damages, which is the amount he says he would’ve made had Sarah not tainted his career. Sony, however, claims the entire lawsuit is baseless.

Major Changes At Sony, Including 5,000 Job Cuts & $1.1 Billion In Losses

February 7th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Another major corporation has just announced job cuts. In a move to return to profitability, Sony will not only slash jobs but will streamline its product offerings. It is leaving the personal computers business and dividing its TV division into a separate unit.

Japan-based Sony said the restructuring will eliminate 5,000 jobs in both the TV and PC divisions and cut $988 million annually from fixed costs. The company will also sell the Vaio PC division to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners. The TV operations will be spun off into a separate unit by July 2014. Still, Sony expects a net loss of $1.1 billion in the fiscal year ending in March. It had expected a profit.

The job cuts will start by March 2015, with the savings to start taking effect in the 2015-2016 financial year, reports Business Insider.

Sony has been doing well, but its electronics division was having major losses–up to $7.5 billion in the nine fiscal years before the current one. And  they still expect to lose a ton on TVs this year.

Its financial services unit is pulling in dough however. In the October-to-December quarter, the company posted an operating profit for the three months, up from a year ago.

Remember, this is the company that brought us the Walkman years ago, which was cutting edge at its time. What was the last Sony product you bought?

Gamers Snap Up 1 Million PlayStation 4 Consoles in 24 Hours

November 18th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Wow! Gamers really like the new PlayStation 4 video game console. So much so Sony sold more than one million of them during just the first 24 hours on the market.  The consoles were flying off store shelves Friday in the U.S. and Canada.

According to Andrew House, president and group CEO for Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., in a release pushed out on Sunday, sales remain strong in North America. The gaming system goes on sale in Europe and Latin America on November 29.

“Sony has said it expects to sell 5 million units by the end of its fiscal year in March,” reports Business Insider.

Gamers have been waiting a long time for the new Sony product. The PlayStation 4 is the company’s first new video game console in seven years. Despite the hype, the product is facing some solid competition from Microsoft Corp.’s new Xbox One, which goes on sale this week. In addition, video game systems are competing with tablets, smartphones and other gadgets for the attention of gamers as well.

The Verge has a review of the console, noting all of the improvements that have been made. But, the New York Times’ Bits blog notes that many people are giving the console bad reviews on Amazon, saying the gadget just stopped working after being used for a while.

Is the PlayStation 4 on your Christmas list?

“I’ve Been Fighting For Existential And Economic Freedom”: Lauryn Hill Talks New Music And Being Bamboozled By The Industry

April 26th, 2013 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

It’s like 1998 all over again, because everywhere we turn there’s Lauryn Hill again. However, we’re not getting her back in the way we were hoping for, as she’s come out of her sabbatical to do some touring (to not so rave reviews) and to battle legal troubles. In the midst of all that, the singer took to her Tumblr yesterday to speak on the reports that while trying to stay out of jail, she had inked a new record deal with Sony, to also announce that new music will be on the way, and to of course speak on how she had been bamboozled by the industry:

It has been reported that I signed a new record deal, and that I did this to pay taxes. Yes, I have recently entered into an agreement with Sony Worldwide Entertainment, to launch a new label, on which my new music will be released. And yes, I am working on new music.

I’ve remained silent, after an extensive healing process. This has been a 10+ year battle, for a long time played out behind closed doors, but now in front of the public eye. This is an old conflict between art and commerce… free minds, and minds that are perhaps overly tethered to structure. This is about inequity, and the resulting disenfranchisement caused by it. I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings.

It took years for me to get out of the ‘parasitic’ dynamic of my youth, and into a deal that better reflects my true contribution as an artist, and (purportedly) gives me the control necessary to create a paradigm suitable for my needs. I have been working towards this for a long time, not just because of my current legal situation, but because I am an artist, I love to create, and I need the proper platform to do so.

The nature of my new business venture, as well as the dollar amount reported, was inaccurate, only a portion of the overall deal. Keep in mind, my past recordings have sold over 50,000,000 units worldwide, earning the label a tremendous amount of money (a fraction of which actually came to me).

Only a completely complicated set of traps, manipulations, and inequitable business arrangements could put someone who has accomplished the things that I have, financially in need of anything. I am one artist who finds value in openly discussing the dynamics within this industry that force artists to compromise or distort themselves and what they do, rather than allowing them to make the music that people need. There are volumes that could (and will) be said.

MLH

Very interesting. This lack of creative control and behind-the-scenes manipulation going on in the industry in the quest for money is something Lauryn has been vocal about in the last few years, and we’re glad to hear that she has received a deal where she will be free to get back in the lab and create what she wants and say what she wants. But the question is, are you still down for some new music by Lauryn Hill?

The Good, The Bad, And What The What?: 9 April Fools Pranks Worth Noting

April 2nd, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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april foolsBoth companies and their employees got in on the April Fools Day (ICYMI) fun… with mixed results. Both on the Internet and IRL, folks were trying to get their funny on. But what was a winner and what was a fail? We take a look at nine jokes worth noting.