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Oprah Winfrey is speaking out about the recent Sony e-mail hacking scandal and her remarks may just surprise you. The media titan was on the red carpet promoting Selma, a film she’s both producing and starring in, where she told CNN’s Don Lemon people shouldn’t rush to judgement. According to Winfrey:

I would hope that we would not stand in such harsh judgment of a moment in time where someone was hacked and their private conversations were put before the world.

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Sony hackers referring to themselves as, “Guardians of Peace”, have placed a spotlight on the e-mail conversations surrounding Sony Pictures co-chairwoman Amy Pascal and other top level executives.  In one batch of e-mails, Pascal and producer Scott Rudin joked President Barack Obama would probably prefer to watch movies geared towards blacks such as, The Butler (which Winfrey also produced and starred in) and Kevin Hart films. Winfrey’s good friend Tyler Perry also agreed with her assessment and claimed it was just silly e-mails between colleagues and insisted Pascal wasn’t a racist. According to Perry:

I think we all make stupid mistakes and may say stupid things at once or a joke here and there. But unfortunately  they all came back to haunt her, but I do  do not think that she’s a racist. I absolutely do not believe it.

While both Winfrey and Perry’s downplaying the episode, Ana DuVernay, director of Selma railed against the ordeal but also called it a gift. DuVernay told The Daily Beast,

I thought it was a great gift to me to be reminded of that kind of sad, limited, crass view of the work that people do in this industry who are not from the dominant culture. It was a gift to me to be reminded on that in that moment when there were a lot of shining lights on me and hoopla around the Globes. It was sobering, and it provided a moment of clarity that I’m thankful for as I move forward.


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For 2024’s iteration of MadameNoire and HelloBeautiful’s annual series Women to Know, we knew we wanted to celebrate the people who help make the joys of film and television possible. To create art is to create magic. This year, we spotlight Hollywood Executive’s changing the face of cinema.