Sony Pictures hires crisis specialist who inspired ‘Scandal’ TV series

Sony has hired crisis management expert Judy Smith — the inspiration for Kerry Washington’s “Scandal” character, Olivia Pope — to help advise Amy Pascal and the studio on its message and next steps, according to TMZ. Smith previously worked as deputy press secretary to President George H.W. Bush before starting her own crisis management firm, Smith & Company. Her past clients have included Monica Lewinsky, Wesley Snipes and NFL quarterback Michael Vick. Smith’s life is the inspiration for the lead character on ABC’s “Scandal,” a popular show about a political fixer. Smith is a co-executive producer on the show.

We have not caved. We have not given in. We have persevered. We would still like the public to see this movie.

Michael Lynton, chairman of Sony Pictures, during an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria

Sony has been criticized by U.S. President Barack Obama for a choice to cancel the release of “The Interview” – a comedy about two journalists tasked with the mission of killing Kim Jong Un – after receiving threats from hackers. But Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Michael Lynton hit back, saying the studio was still looking for alternative ways to release the movie. The hackers who hit Sony evoked the memory of 9/11 while threatening to strike movie theatres that showed the film.