After an uproar over information in emails stolen and leaked by hackers allegedly working for North Korea, Sony has hired crisis consultant Judy Smith, according to the Hollywood Reporter, citing a report at TMZ.
Smith is the real-life inspiration for Kerry Washington’s popular character Olivia Pope in the ABC TV series Scandal.
The report says that Smith is to help steer Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal and the studio on its message and next steps.
The move follows widespread criticism of the company for its handling of the email breach, including a rap Friday by President Barack Obama for Sony’s decision to cancel the release of The Interview, a satire about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The decision to cancel the release came after threats from hackers apparently incensed by the film’s mocking of Kim.
“The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film,” Sony said in a statement. “This was their decision.”
Some information contained in the trove of leaked emails has been embarrassing for the company, and especially for Pascal, who joked with a Hollywood producer about which black-themed movies President Obama would like. But not all of the emails were negative. Some correspondence from Pascal indicated that she wanted British actor Idris Elba to be the first black James Bond.
Smith could prove helpful to Sony. The report notes that she worked as deputy press secretary to President George H.W. Bush before starting her crisis management firm, Smith & Co. Her website says she’s on “speed dial for some of the highest-profile celebrities, politicians and corporations in the world,” the Hollywood Reporter notes. Her past clients include Monica Lewinsky, Wesley Snipes and National Football League quarterback Michael Vick.
Read more at the Hollywood Reporter.