Since hackers nabbed a purported 11,000 gigabytes of data from Sony Pictures last month, leaked communications connecting back to stars like Seth Rogen and Angelina Jolie have surfaced, and they largely haven't been flattering. Now, North Philly's Kevin Hart, fresh off a trip back to his homeland yesterday, has been referenced in the leaks, with one Sony executive calling the comedian a "whore."
The leaked email exchange between Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal, studio executive Clint Culpepper, and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton comes from early March and shows the trio discussing Hart's involvement in social media promotion of Think Like a Man Too. Apparently, the studio hoped that Hart would tweet a few times about the film, a task for which Hart wanted more money than the $3 million he earned for making the movie itself.
Exec Clint Culpepper didn't take kindly to that, unleashing a tirade in one email that concluded with an insult aimed squarely at the comedian:
As I suspected, I got a call from Jeremy Zimmer today informing me that they feel that if we're going to expect and take advantage of Kevin's social media savvy that "they" feel there is a price to be paid for it which is above and beyond the 3M he was paid to do the film. Jeremy was very clear that Kevin would do the normal publicity asked of him like junket, tv shows, radio interview, etc. however, the social media blitzkrieg would cost us. I told him I was in a big meeting but would call him back. I'm tempted to suggest we call his bluff. If his film does NOT perform it hurts his brand and we have his next 3 films. I'm not saying he's a whore, but he's a whore. Let's discuss in Tuesday's MPG mtg?
To clarify, that's Culpepper taking none-too-kindly to Hart's expectation of additional compensation in exchange for tweeting, instagramming, and giving interviews about his own movie. For the exec, that's bit like buying a new car with an additional, separate charge for its engine:
It's not as if we paid him 3M and 4M respectively for his last 2 films thinking he might be nominated. We paid for his ability to open a film which included his social media savvy. I feel like this is something that should be negotiated going into the film as opposed to after the fact. It feels tantamount to buying a car and then upon picking it up being told that the engine will cost extra. I'm tempted to suggest we call his bluff. If he doesn't do his normal routine, his film will not open as well and his brand will appear diminished and he will- in fact - be f------ himself because we have his next 2 immediate films. And then there's the social media precedent we're setting...especially in light of the fact that Channing is at the same agency.
Channing or no, that precedent appears to be set: If you want Kevin Hart to tweet, you pay Kevin Hart to tweet. If nothing else, at least the two weeks he spent at the Community College of Philadelphia appear to have taught him well.