Sony staff pull together amid hacking fiasco
CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA
SONY Pictures has vowed that it will not be destroyed by a massive cyber attack, even as hackers promised a big "Christmas gift" for the Hollywood studio.
Staff were called together in Los Angeles on Monday to hear how the company is responding to the Nov 24 hacking attack, which has produced a string of damaging and highly embarrassing leaks.
"This will not take us down," Sony Pictures chief Michael Lynton told employees, cited by a Sony source, adding: "You should not be worried about the future of this studio."
Staff - who applauded their bosses at the 20-minute meetings, according to the source - declined to comment to AFP as they emerged from the company headquarters.
The meetings were also addressed by the company's co-chairman, Amy Pascal, who apologised again for some of her leaked e-mail comments, according to entertainment industry news website Deadline Hollywood.
In those e-mail messages, she had made racially insensitive remarks about United States President Barack Obama. She had already apologised publicly.
She paid tribute to the company's staff on Monday.
"You all are the backbone of this company. And it is your incredible efforts and perseverance that will get us through this," she said.
The meetings came after the so-called Guardians of Peace (GOP) hacking group promised in a post on Pastebin.com: "We are preparing for you a Christmas gift.
"The gift will be larger quantities of data. And it will be more interesting. The gift will surely give you much more pleasure and put Sony Pictures (in) the worst state."
The group has demanded that Sony stop the Christmas Day release of the comedy The Interview, depicting a fictional Central Intelligence Agency plot to kill North Korea's leader.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the hack, met Sony staff last week, a spokesman said.
The latest GOP vow came after a series of damaging leaks about Sony salaries, employee health records, unpublished scripts and e-mail exchanges about movie stars and film-makers, were published by websites including Gawker.com.
Sony has been thrown into damage-control mode by the unflattering leaks - including a producer labelling actress Angelina Jolie a "minimally talented spoiled brat".
On Sunday, Sony pressed media outlets not to use data that hackers may have leaked about the studio.
In the letter sent to groups including The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter, lawyer David Boies said the "stolen information" must be destroyed and should not make it to publication.
North Korea has denied involvement in the brazen cyber attack, but praised it as a "righteous deed" potentially orchestrated by supporters furious over the movie.