Amy Pascal on What She Learned from the Sony Hack

Amy Pascal on What She Learned from the Sony Hack

In her first public appearance since being fired from her post as co-chair of Sony Pictures, Amy Pascal sat down with Tina Brown at Women in the World San Francisco.

“There was this horrible moment when I realized there was absolutely nothing at all that I could do,” Pascal said of the hack that made her personal email very public — including disparaging comments about President Obama and Angelia Joile.

“The first person I talked to was Angie after that email,” said Pascal, implying their relationship was fine. “We all live in this weird thing together called Hollywood. If we all actually were nice, it wouldn’t work.”

On the revelations that prominent actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were paid less than their male costars in American Hustle, Pascal focused on the bottom line. “I run a business. People want to work for less money, I’ll pay them less money. I don’t call them up and go, ‘Can I give you some more?’ Because that’s what you do when you run a business.”

But she shared advice for those on the other side of the salary negation table.

“The truth is that what women have to do is not work for less money. They have to walk away. People shouldn’t be so grateful for jobs…People should know what they’re worth and say no.”

Pascal also commented on a shift she hopes to see in the future.

“I think that the most important thing that we can do in our business is make movies with female protagonists and movies with female villains and movies where…the plot of the movie is about [women],” said Pascal. “The worst thing you can do is just be on the sidelines…I think that there is a subliminal message for everyone when women, good or bad, move the plot,” she added.

One big lesson she’s taking away from the hack? “I did learn that you should always say exactly what you think directly to people all the time,” said Pascal. “The hardest thing in any of these jobs is to be able to hear yourself.”