Sony Hack: Racism edition part 3 starring Denzel Washington

December 18, 2014 16:34:18 Posted at December 18, 2014 16:34:18
Lainey Posted by Lainey

So a new batch of emails from the Sony Hack now involve Denzel Washington. It’s a message from an unnamed producer to Michael Lynton, Chair & CEO. According to Radar, the producer writes that it’s bad business to keep casting Denzel Washington in movies because international audiences don’t want to watch black actors.

“No, I am not saying ‘The Equalizer’ should not have been made or that African-American actors should not have been used (I personally think Denzel is the best actor of his generation),” the producer explained, referring to the star’s popular action thriller, released in September.

But “casting him is saying we’re OK with a double if the picture works,” the producer warned, using a baseball analogy to describe the movie’s reception abroad in the email, which was revealed by Radar Online on Wednesday.

“He’s reliable at the domestic [box office], safe, but has not had a huge success in years,” the producer wrote in the email, which was addressed to Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton — whose response is not divulged.

“I believe that the international motion picture audience is racist — in general pictures with an African-American lead don’t play well overseas,” the producer wrote.

Oh PS? Radar pointed out that “'Washington’s The Equalizer grossed $191 million at theaters worldwide, with 47% of the ticket sales coming from outside of the United States”.

But this asshole says the audience overseas is racist. Therefore let’s not make movies with black people. Let’s deny black actors the few opportunities they actually have because…racism. Let’s be racist because of racism?

Is that considered circular logic? I don’t know, I’m not a philosopher. But I don’t have to be smart to know that that sh-t is foul. And weak. And offensive.

So you want to know why knowing this is important?

Because these people shape culture. These people produce art. These are your tastemakers. They produce your entertainment and entertainment is a privilege – it can elevate our social conscious, it can enlighten, it can move us forward. Or … it can entrench our perspectives, it can stagnate our progress, it can fuel the darkest parts of humanity.

These people and their decisions have impact. What would happen if this particular suggestion had been taken? If Sony decides not to cast Denzel Washington in big movies anymore? You take away one of the best role models for black actors. You reduce diversity in film. You give the audience less and less to relate to. You tell the world that representation in art is not a priority. 

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