Al Sharpton is willing to give Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal a chance to prove she'll do the right thing for African Americans, but he says, "The proof is in the pudding and you don't know until you eat it."
Sharpton tells TMZ he met with Pascal for 90 minutes Thursday in NYC, and she admitted she was "wrong and silly" to engage producer Scott Rudin in speculation that Prez Obama only likes "black movies."
Sharpton says the head of the National Urban League was also on hand and told her they were "outraged" by her comments. She said it was "an isolated incident," but Sharpton retorted it was indicative of a bigger problem in Hollywood ... no blacks at the top.
The Rev says he's not calling for Amy's head, but he wants to see real action before making a final decision. The contrition is clearly not complete, because he says he and Amy will sit down for another chitchat next week.
Returns to Work at Sony ...
With Hard Feelings
12/18/2014 1:09 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Seth Rogen is back in the saddle, showing up at Sony Thursday morning, but we're told he feels betrayed by the studio's decision to shelve "The Interview."
If you believe Rob Lowe ... Seth was fuming over Sony's decision Wednesday. Rob -- who was also in the movie -- said he and Seth were in lockstep and that Sony showed cowardice by crumbling.
Sources connected to Seth tell TMZ ... Rob did indeed chitchat with Seth at JFK about the Sony decision, and it wasn't hard to read between the lines that Seth is pissed.
It makes sense ... during the premiere in Hollywood last week ... Seth praised Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal for having the balls to stand up to the hackers.
The Sony lot probably seems smaller today.
Cancels Studio Tour
Until Further Notice
12/18/2014 10:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Sony is telling people who signed up for their studio tour to take a walk ... anywhere but on the Sony lot.
Sources at the studio tell TMZ ... their tour has been put on ice since the hacker attack ... and a big reason is that its 2 hour walking could pose a big threat to Sony. The tour is touted as a behind the scenes look at a working studio. The idea of someone straying from the group is too real a possibility.
We're told the tour will not resume until sometime after the first of the year, but no date has been set.
Got Nothin' to Say
About My Ill-Fated Flick
12/18/2014 6:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
A stoic Seth Rogen arrived in L.A. Wednesday night ... and however he feels about Sony pulling the plug on his movie ... he's keeping it to himself.
Seth was impassive as photogs peppered him with questions. He didn't respond to a question about Rob Lowe's tweet Wednesday, suggesting he and Seth were comrades in arms over their distaste for Sony's decision.
As Rogen and his pooch made their way to the awaiting limo, a guy who looks like security was by his side.
As for Lowe, he went to Craig's in West Hollywood last night ... a sure fire way for any celeb to get on camera. But for some reason he's more into tweeting than talking.
Hey Media, There's 2 of Us
You Got the Wrong Amy!
12/18/2014 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
1:20 PM PDT -- Time.com updated the picture with the right Amy.
Amy Pascal spent Wednesday afternoon tooling around L.A. on the TMZ Hollywood Tour, while Sony was in utter turmoil.
Amy is NOT the same Amy Pascal who runs Sony Pictures, but tell that to USA Today, Time.com and various other media outlets, that have plastered her picture on their publications and dragged her face through the mud.
You gotta see the video ... Amy, a marketing exec, says she was at an AdWeek event a few months ago and had her pic taken on the red carpet. Her pic showed up on Getty Images and was misidentified as the Amy Pascal from Sony.
News outlets took the pic and ran, which pisses her off because she's 41 ... 15 years younger than her namesake.
Now she's getting a torrent of angry tweets from people who think she sent all those emails.
If Sony Ran WWII
Hitler Would Have Won
12/17/2014 2:27 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Rob Lowe just blasted Sony, calling the movie company a spineless sellout and comparing it to the famous British Prime Minister who caved in to Hitler.
Lowe reacted to Sony's decision to pull "The Interview," saying, "Saw @Sethrogen at JFK. Both of us have never seen or heard of anything like this. Hollywood has done Neville Chamberlain proud today."
Chamberlain famously conceded Czechoslovakia to the Nazis in 1938. His policy of appeasement became synonymous with cowardice.
So far no word from Seth Rogen on whether he embraces Rob's statement.
Jimmy Kimmel tweeted, "An un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent."
And Newt Gingrich got into the act, tweeting "@RobLowe, No one should kid themselves. With the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very very dangerous precedent."
To which Rob retweeted "It wasn't the hackers who won, it was the terrorists and almost certainly the North Korean dictatorship, this was an act of war."
Michael Moore just fired his own salvo saying, "Dear Sony Hackers: now that u run Hollywood, I'd also like less romantic comedies, fewer Michael Bay movies and no more Transformers."
Sony Hacking Is An Act of War ...
Let's Hunt Them Down
12/17/2014 3:50 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Newt Gingrich wants President Obama to treat the Sony hackers just like Osama Bin Laden -- by tracking them down and getting revenge for what he calls America's first defeat in a cyber war.
We talked to the former Speaker of the House in NYC ... right after Sony announced it was pulling "The Interview" from theaters and he did not try to hide his anger over the hack.
Gingrich says we've now opened the door for foreign terrorists to control American media. As he puts it ... "If they [the Sony hackers] can pull it off, do the Iranians come next?"
Watch the video ... Newt does suggest a plan for Sony to save face and stick it to the hackers.
Pulls the Plug on 'The Interview'
12/17/2014 2:07 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
3:15 PM PT -- U.S. investigators have determined the Sony hackers were working with, or for, North Korea ... according to CNN.
Sony has pulled the plug on the XMAS release of "The Interview," after a number of theater chains bailed.
TMZ broke the story Thursday morning ... Sony execs felt their out was if distributors yanked the film because of safety concerns. That would give Sony an out without directly bending to the hackers.
Sony just released a statement, saying, "In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release."
The statement goes on, saying, "We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public."
The execs are underscoring the distinction between pulling the film because of the distributors rather than out of fear, saying, "We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome."
We Know How to Make This Movie Go Away
12/17/2014 8:36 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
2:00 PM PT -- AMC Theaters has decided to pull the plug as well, saying, "At this time, to best enable AMC guests to plan their holiday movie-going with certainty and confidence, AMC is programming its theatres without 'The Interview.'"
1:15 PM PT -- Canada's top theater chain, Cineplex, has postponed screening "The Interview."
12:10 PM PT -- Two more major movie chains -- Regal Entertainment and Carmike Cinemas -- have now decided to drop the film as well.
10:10 AM PT -- Bow Tie Cinemas became the second major chain to announce they will not be showing the film on any of their 350 screens. Bow Tie CEO Ben Moss said "the safety and comfort of our patrons is foremost in our minds."Sony execs think there's a way to yank "The Interview" and still not give in to the cyber-terrorists.
Industry insiders with direct knowledge tell TMZ ... studio heads are now banking on a flurry of cancellations from the various movie distributors across the country ... to the point where it would not make economic sense to release it.
We're told the execs are actually viewing the latest threat as having a silver lining ... the threat of a 9/11-type attack will make so many theaters pull the flick themselves -- and Sony won't have to do it. One movie chain has already reportedly folded -- the Carmike Cinemas. ArcLight is mulling over what to do.
We're told Sony execs want the bleeding to stop ... especially attacks against mid and low-level employees whose lives, finances and health issues have been exposed.
Surprisingly ... there's talk about the movie getting play on some sort of pay-per-view platform, but that seems odd if they want the hacking to stop.
Rolls Out Beefy New Protection
... Just in Case
12/17/2014 9:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
With the Sony hackers now threatening violence -- James Franco is applying the old theory go big or go home ... when it comes to the security guard tailing him around NYC.
Franco was leaving a restaurant in Manhattan Tuesday night with his new muscle in tow. He was in town to promote "The Interview" and attend the premiere ... which Sony ended up cancelling last night.
They say the best defense is a strong offense -- and that dude looks like he can offend, if necessary.
I'm Going Nowhere
12/17/2014 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal will NOT step down ... and we're told there has been a groundswell of celebrity support for her to keep her job.
Our industry sources tell TMZ ... more than 50 showbiz bigwigs -- many of whom are celebrities -- have contacted Pascal and other honchos at Sony voicing support for her. Ironically, a number of the supporters voice their sentiment via email to various execs at Sony.
We're told the celebs who have come forward include Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Singleton, Jack Nicholson and Tyler Perry. As for that pic of Jolie with the steely look as Pascal hugged her ... we're told it was just a moment in time.
We're told Pascal is winning some points by spending much of her time in the last few days focusing on the security and safety of the employees.
Pascal is under fire for her emails with producer Scott Rudin about Prez Obama's film preferences, which Rudin said ranged from "12 Years a Slave" to "Ride Along."
The people voicing support have gone out of their way to say they do not think Pascal is racist.
Sony Hacking Scandal
Execs Convinced It's an Inside Job
12/17/2014 12:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Sony execs are now convinced someone who worked for the studio is behind the massive hacking ... because no one from the outside could so precisely target the compromising information.
Multiple sources connected to the studio tell TMZ ... the strong, prevailing view is that the North Koreans are probably involved, but they used someone with intimate knowledge of the Sony email system to laser in on the most embarrassing information.
We're told the people at Sony who are investigating believe the hackers had intimate knowledge of mail systems and their configurations. They also believe the hackers have knowledge of the internal media distribution systems and the internal IT systems, including human resources and payroll.
Several people suggested a possible link between the hackers and Sony layoffs, which included a large number of IT employees.
NYC Premiere Cancelled
12/16/2014 9:06 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
On the same day the Sony hackers made a 9/11 scale threat against theaters showing "The Interview" -- the New York premiere of Seth Rogen and James Franco's movie has been scrapped.
A rep for the Landmark Sunshine Cinema confirms Thursday's scheduled premiere is cancelled. It's unclear if the event will be rescheduled.
This is the first cancellation for an event surrounding the controversial movie. The Hollywood premiere went on as planned last week, but they didn't do any red carpet interviews.
As TMZ first reported ... the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security doesn't view the latest threats as credible.
Sony is letting theaters decide whether to play the movie -- leaving the door open for big financial losses.