TMZ says it has learned that Judy Smith, the crisis expert who inspired Olivia Pope on Scandal, is advising Sony on how to handle the criticism it has received over pulling The Interview.
“Our sources tell us Smith has been especially helpful to Sony because of her deep contacts with the government, and she has been involved on both the D.C. and Hollywood fronts,” the site says.
The story goes on to say that Smith and her firm, Smith & Company, has been helping with the messaging, “that this is not just a Sony issue but an industry issue,” and the idea that this is an industry issue, not just a Sony issue.
“We’re told the ultimate mission is to somehow contain the PR fallout and navigate a way forward,” the site says.
That task is not made easier by today’s #ObamaPresser.
ICYMI: The President went all the way off, saying that Sony should’ve called him first before making the decision to pull the Seth Rogen and “James Flacco” movie.
“I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced. Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake,” Obama said, creating another crisis for Smith to handle.
Speaking of President Obama, there’s word that Rev. Al Sharpton is now advising Sony head Amy Pascal on Sony’s films. We wonder if Smith also suggested this.
“We have agreed to having a working group deal with the racial bias and lack of diversity in Hollywood,” The New York Post quotes Rev. Sharpton. He reportedly had a 90-minute conversation with Pascal on the issue. The National Urban League, The Black Women’s Roundtable and the NAACP are also involved, the paper says.
Sharpton says “the jury’s still out” on whether or not Pascal should keep her job.
As the situation continues to unfold, Smith will have her work ahead of her. Now that the government is involved, there will be quite a lot to navigate and those contacts will come in handy.
Moreover, Sony is going to have to hire experts in other communications areas to deal with the backlash from Hollywood and the company’s reputation with the public at large. We’re sure there are a number of firms out there who have already sent over their pitches.