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13 revelations from the Sony hack

The Sony Pictures hack has exposed the inner workings of one of Hollywood's biggest studios.

Seth Rosenblatt Former Senior Writer / News
Senior writer Seth Rosenblatt covered Google and security for CNET News, with occasional forays into tech and pop culture. Formerly a CNET Reviews senior editor for software, he has written about nearly every category of software and app available.
Seth Rosenblatt
4 min read

Prescient or humorous? Emailed comments about hacking, from actor George Clooney (seen here at the New York Comic Con in October 2014), showed up in documents leaked from the Sony hack.
Prescient or humorous? Emailed comments about hacking, from actor George Clooney (seen here at the New York Comic Con in October 2014), showed up in documents leaked from the Sony hack. Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images, for Disney

Sony Pictures has had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad few weeks since November 24. That's when hackers broke in to its computer networks and leaked thousands of financial documents and emails revealing the film studio's inner secrets.

Some of the revelations have been merely interesting, a few have been shocking invasions of privacy, while others could damage individual reputations. All of the revelations have been reported previously in a variety of publications.

Here are 13 things we didn't know about Sony:

1) Men are paid more than women
Sony's 17 biggest-earning executives are predominantly white men. According to a spreadsheet called "Comp Roster by Supervisory Organization 2014-10-21," Amy Pascal, the co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment is the only woman earning $1 million or more at the studio.

2) It's not just executives
Sony paid Jennifer Lawrence less than it paid Christian Bale or Bradley Cooper, her co-stars in last year's hit movie "American Hustle." Lawrence was paid 7 percent of the movie's profit, while Bale and Cooper received 9 percent, according to emails sent to Pascal.

3) Quid pro quo at play
Emails between Pascal and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd suggest Dowd promised to show Pascal's husband a copy of a column before publishing it. Pascal's husband is former Times reporter Bernard Weinraub. Dowd denied the allegations.

4) What would Steve Jobs do?
Sony had the rights to produce the new Aaron Sorkin-written biopic of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. And then it didn't. Emails show that Sony considered putting Tom Cruise in the lead role. Eventually, though, the movie slipped out of Sony's hands. Rights to the film were sold to Universal earlier this year.

"I feel like I just gave away a seminal movie, like citizen Kane [sic] for our time," Pascal wrote in an email to a colleague. "[I] already think i may have made the worst decisions of my career."

5) It ain't pretty
A series of emails between Pascal and movie producer Scott Rudin showed an ugly side to the beautiful business of Hollywood. Rudin called Angelina Jolie a "minimally talented spoiled brat" in an email exchange with Pascal. Pascal and Rudin also made racially charged jokes about President Obama's taste in movies. As you would expect, Pascal and Rudin apologized, saying they are so sorry for what they said.

6) Too much information
Sony's human-resources department had detailed medical records of three dozen employees and their family members. One internal memo revealed a staff member's child with special needs, including the child's type of treatment. The memo talked about the employee's appeal of insurance provider Aetna's denial of thousands of dollars in medical claims.

7) REALLY too much information
Another HR document detailed the medical costs for 34 Sony employees and their family members who had very high medical bills. Medical conditions included premature births, cancer, kidney failure and alcoholic liver cirrhosis.

8) I'll scratch your back...
Sony executives discussed a new "Men in Black" film featuring characters from the company's "21 Jump Street" property, and a deal with Disney's Marvel Studios so Spider-Man could make an appearance in the upcoming "Captain America: Civil War."

9) Pretend you don't know me
Celebrities really do use aliases to protect their identities. Sarah Michelle Gellar goes by "Neely O'Hara" (a troubled Hollywood star in Jacqueline Susann's 1966 novel "Valley of the Dolls" and the film based on it). Tobey Maguire checks into hotels as "Neil Deep," and Tom Hanks uses two aliases: "Harry Lauder" (a turn-of-the-century Scottish vaudevillian) and "Johnny Madrid" (a gunslinger in the late '60s TV Western "Lancer"). Well, not anymore.

10) James Bond isn't cheap
The ""="" shortcode="link" asset-type="article" uuid="05c247cb-f2bb-4e8b-88ee-0da0113d9b87" slug="james-bond-spectre-cast-announced" link-text="next James Bond movie, " section="news" title="New Bond film is called 'Spectre', will star Christoph Waltz" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key" api="{"id":"05c247cb-f2bb-4e8b-88ee-0da0113d9b87","slug":"james-bond-spectre-cast-announced","contentType":null,"edition":"us","topic":{"slug":"culture"},"metaData":{"typeTitle":null,"hubTopicPathString":"Culture","reviewType":null},"section":"news"}"> is over budget by $50 million, and already is expected to cost $50 million more than the previous Bond film, "Skyfall."

11) Who you gonna call?
An email from Ivan Reitman, director of "Ghostbusters," revealed that Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Melissa McCarthy and Amy Schumer all said they'd be interested in appearing in a "Ghostbusters" reboot.

12) Yada yada yada
Sony Pictures pocketed $5.85 million over three years thanks to a syndication deal for a show about nothing: "Seinfeld." The last new episode aired 16 years ago. Who knew?

13) George Clooney knows all, sees all
George Clooney looks either prescient or humorous in an email to Pascal with the subject line: "knowing this email is being hacked." Sent September 5, the email appears to reference a movie he will direct called "Hack Attack," about British tabloids' phone-hacking scandal. "For those of you listening in...I'm the son of a news man...everything will be double sourced...so come on with your lawsuits," he wrote.

Neither Sony Pictures nor Amy Pascal responded to requests for comment.