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Sony boss Pascal steps down after 'Interview' hack

February 5, 2015

Sony Pictures executive Amy Pascal has stepped down from her post as the company's co-chair. Her departure comes in the wake of a hacking scandal blamed on North Korea, which revealed some embarrassing emails.

USA Premiere The Interview Sony Amy Pascal
Image: Reuters/Kevork Djansezian

Hollywood studio Sony Pictures Entertainment announced on Thursday that Pascal, whose emails were leaked during the hacking saga, would step down to take on a new challenge.

The departure was given a positive spin in a company statement, which said Pascal would be helping to launch a "major new production venture" at the studio.

Pascal apologized in December after the damaging emergence of private emails, including an exchange where racially insensitive jokes were made about US President Barack Obama's presumed movie preferences.

She later apologized for "insensitive and inappropriate" comments, saying they were "not an accurate reflection of who I am."

"I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energized to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home," she said in a company statement.

'Resilience' through tough times

There was praise for Pascal from her co-chair Michael Lynton, who alluded to the difficulties his colleague had faced in recent months. Lynton said the studio had "faced some unprecedented challenges, and I am grateful for Amy's resilience and grace during this period."

Washington has blamed North Korea for the hack on Sony, claiming it has proof - something that Pyongyang denies. North Korea has strongly condemned the Sony film "The Interview," which features a fictional plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong Un.

"The Interview" was originally scheduled for a Christmas Day release, but was pulled from movie theaters amid threats when Sony became the target of the biggest cyberattack in US corporate history. The film was later given a limited release in cinemas, and proved a sensation when it came to online sales.

rc/kms (AFP, dpa, AP, Reuters)