While the hacking of Sony’s servers by a group dubbed “Guardians of Peace” has already led to numerous revelations regarding the studio’s 2013 film American Hustle, including the shocking news that the biggest movie star on the planet, Jennifer Lawrence, was compensated less than her male co-stars on the project, The Daily Beast has just unearthed more troubling emails regarding Hustle. And these email exchanges target the film’s Oscar-nominated director, David O. Russell.
An email exchange between Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Michael De Luca, co-president of production for Columbia Pictures (which distributed Hustle), slams Russell for his alleged bad attitude and addresses his purported broken relationship with the studio in the wake of Hustle, which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards—including Best Picture—but failed to take home any.
On September 30, 2014, Pascal emailed De Luca, writing, “While your [sic] at it go fix our relationship with David o.” De Luca, confused, replies, “Is it broken? You guys got him a fat gross and oscar noms last time out!”
Then Pascal responds (in all caps) with, “BUT WE DIDNT WIN A D [sic] YOU KNOW HIM.”
But that’s not the most troubling part. De Luca’s response to that email from Pascal gets, well, a bit personal.
“David’s a loon, talented but geez once I saw him bring Sally Field to a party and reduce her to tears,” said De Luca. “Plus remember when he got in trouble for feeling up his transgender nieces [sic] boobs?”
Russell, in case you’re not familiar, is one of the most talented filmmakers in Hollywood, having helmed not only Hustle, but also movies like Flirting with Disaster, Three Kings, The Fighter, and Silver Linings Playbook.
The incident De Luca is referring to allegedly occurred on December 30, 2011. According to a Broward Sheriff’s Office report published on The Smoking Gun, Russell, 53, and his transgender niece, Nicole Peloquin, 19, were working out at a gym when Peloquin claims Russell offered “to help… with ab exercises.” Peloquin, who told sheriff’s deputies she recognizes as transgender but “had not gone through the male to female operation,” then claimed that Russell asked her about the transformation process, and Peloquin responded by telling Russell about taking hormones which increased her breast size.
Peloquin then claimed that Russell put his hands under her top “and felt both breasts,” and while she says she felt uncomfortable, she “did not ask Russell to stop at any time.” Peloquin then claimed she went home, told her mother that her adopted brother “came onto her in the gym,” and subsequently filed a complaint accusing the director of misdemeanor battery.
The Chicago Tribune reported that, “For his part, Russell confirms that the incident happened, but told police that Peloquin was ‘acting very provocative toward him’ and invited him to feel her breasts. He also admitted to being ‘curious about the breast enhancement.’” Police later closed the case, and no charges were filed against Russell who, according to a statement issued by his representative at the time, “emphatically denies any wrongdoing and has cooperated fully with the authorities.”