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LOS ANGELES – While the source of the Sony data hack remains under FBI investigation — some experts are pointing fingers at North Korea — at least one Hollywood figurehead anticipated it.
According to an internal email published by Gizmodo, George Clooney mulled over the directorial project “Hack Attack,” pertaining to the British phone hacking scandal, with the subject line, “knowing this email has been hacked.”
“I’m so excited to do this film,” Clooney wrote in an email to co-chairman Amy Pascal. “And for those of you listening in … I’m the son of a news man.”
But little did Sony know it would soon dominate headlines in the most embarrassing of ways, stripping the shine from an industry coated in glitz and glamour.
The hacked emails of Sony executives reinforce the cut-throat way some shows like “Entourage” have portrayed Hollywood.
“That kissy-kissy atmosphere Hollywood is known for is just as fake as a fictional movie,” PR guru Glenn Selig, founder of Selig Multimedia, told FOX411. “The public wants Hollywood to be larger than life and a figure of perfection. But wherever there is big money there is backstabbing.”
The stolen emails reveal that Angelina Jolie has been called a “minimally talented spoiled brat,” Kevin Hart “a whore” and Megan Ellison a “bipolar lunatic.” Adam Sandler has been insulted for making “mundane, formulaic films.” Even President Obama has been dragged into the mess with the exposure of an email thread in which Pascal and powerhouse producer Scott Rudin trade barbs suggesting he must prefer movies starring or directed by African-Americans.
And all that could be just the tip of the iceberg, because most of Sony’s hacked data has not been disclosed yet.
As The Guardian newspaper points out, Sony’s top brass talks about co-workers “the same way we do” — but in this case the people they’re talking about are hugely famous. The emails reveal the real backbone of the industry without publicists, marketing professionals, agents and stylists manufacturing the message.
But some observers predict the embarrassing emails won’t hurt Sony in the long run.
“The entertainment industry is not any worse than many other industries,” says Alec Shankman, head of alternative programming and digital media at the talent agency Abrams Artists. “The information released thus far is not terribly damaging. It’s certainly not in the same ballpark as what we saw with WikiLeaks.”
What’s more, the American public loves to forgive and forget after a fall from grace, says Ashley McCown, president of the public relations and crisis communications firm Solomon McCown,
Referring to the email exchange about Obama, she said, “Will artists of any race be offended enough to refuse to be on the Sony label? In Sony films? Only time will tell. However, Sony’s swift choices to meaningfully repair this damage are critical.”