Leaked Email Alleges Racism and Sexual Harassment Horror at Sony
Buried among thousands of messages in the mailbox of Sony Pictures chief counsel Leah Weil is a long, upsetting accusation of abuse. The claim comes from a former female employee of top Sony exec Keith Le Goy, and details years of threats, insults, racism, and nasty harassment.
The email—sent to Weil, Sony Pictures chairman Michael Lynton, and Sony Pictures Television prez Steve Mosko, comes just three days after the employee was terminated:
What follows is a long statement of wrongdoing aimed at Le Goy, the president of international distribution at SPT. You can read the most pertinent parts below, edited for brevity:
To all concerned:
I have worked for executives at Sony for approximately 7 years, the last 5+ of which have been in International Distribution assisting Keith Le Goy. My experience in the International Distribution department has been marred by disparate and unfair treatment in promotion and hiring practices, harassment, retaliation, bullying women, name-calling, offensive language, threats, blocking my advancement and transfers, withholding information to paint a negative opinion, maligning, unsolicited hugs and invitations, resulting in sexual harassment and drinking during work hours in the office. Despite my repeated conversations, complaints, filings with Ethics and HR, nothing has been done to abate the problematic environment. In fact it has returned to the level of hostility it was in January 2009. We should add to that that the discriminatory practices in our department are now grossly evident:
Accusations of racial discrimination:
Before I joined International Distribution at Sony, my childhood passion for TV had been honed by working for a tough partner at William Morris, an SVP at Lion's Gate and assisting an executive in legal at Sony. Despite my experience, bilingual ability and 4 year degree, Monica Howe, a Caucasian female, who has less seniority than I, no 4 year degree, far less entertainment experience, by her own admission worked less for her 2 SVPs than I did for my busy EVP, and had less of a an overall contribution to the office, was promoted to "Analyst" in our department within 18 months leapfrogging over me.
So the situation is a Caucasian person promoted twice above the more experienced, more senior African-American person and the African-American has yet to get the title for the job that she actually does. My case isn't isolated, my African-American tub mate, works for the same SVP, now EVP, who promoted Monica in 18 months, has not given her, the African-American assistant the classification for the job she is doing—Admin III. The only other African-American in our department in the last 10 years, was Paul Bledsoe, who was laid-off in 2009, after 10 years as a Manager. I asked to take over some of his duties and learn more and was rebuffed; another Caucasian was hired 5 months later.
Additionally, in 2011 I have not received a bonus, nor has the only other Africa-American in our department. I would guess that in our thriving department, everyone else including the assistant, who received preferential treatment from her SVP boss and left the company after 1 ½ year on the heels of her SVP yelling at the other African-American assistant for an innocuous email she sent to his pampered assistant, also received a bonus. In 2010 when Keith left for vacation having negotiated and signed everyone's deals and increases except mine, I called the new HR partner, Jessica Parris to inquire and I said, parenthetically, "He's still retaliating against me for having reported his harassing me." She laughed, thinking I was joking or perhaps she knew and just didn't find it valuable.
Mistreatment by Le Goy (emphasis added):
In January 2009, Keith harassed me by yelling at me, charging at my desk for dial-in instructions, after providing them, I hastened out and he chased, blocked my exit and threatened me not to take overtime, in front of several witnesses. I was terrified. This anger was in retaliation for my having reported him to the Ethics Hotline 3 weeks earlier, when he called me "[Expletive] useless," and slammed his computer down for emphasis in front of a female VP. I reported it all to Ethics and he received little more than a slap on the wrist—Harassment training for ½ day and HR counseling.
A continuing pattern of abuse, harassment, misogyny and homophobia (emphasis added):
Keith bullied and threatened me, bullied Natalie Garcia threatening her not to poach his assistant, bullied in the open Marie Jacobson about his money, but she brought him back to his office and rifled back admonishing him for his temper tantrum and that ended their previously close relationship. He bullied LeDon from Ambassor Services and me on July 26th 2011, the very day and within 15 minutes of my informing him that I might have a serious illness and have to go to the hospital per my oncologist. Keith agreed that I should go, but first get Ambassador Services on the line about his passport renewal. He was leaving for vacation in a week and needed his passport renewal expedited. I had done so 4 weeks earlier. Because they hadn't fulfilled their promise, they blamed me for having given him the wrong expectations, he agreed, but the website confirmed my explanation. He had a tantrum, banging on the desk, stomping his feet and yelling at both LeDon and me, "Don't interrupt me while I'm ranting!" Then he bullied, yelled and cut off LeDon as she attempted to give him the exceptions and rules to the 1 year temporary passport he would need from the British Consulate. This kind of bullying is reserved for women.
I am offended by the language and manor that Keith speaks to me and usage of the constant "F" word, his derogatory language, once calling a married President a [Expletive] faggot, and another high level executive a "dyke," "Forty year old women need tits", regarding a high executive, "Was that before or after she wiped the coke off her upper lip," accused another married high level executive of sexual dalliances with an international star, his own indiscretions and calling me a "Bitch, referring to me as a "Dumb Bitch" and calling me "Queen B" out in the open for years, despite my telling him that it is his covert and now overt way of calling me a Bitch. His response to me, "…If the shoe fits" . I asked him and demanded that he stop, complained about most of the above to HR's, and little happened. The beginnings of the sexual abuse occurred in 2007 when he asked me to join him while he serenaded HR and Operations managers in his dimmed office. I refused him twice saying that I had an abundance of work to complete. The final time that he asked, he offered me, "Veuve Cliquot with HR, I told him in no uncertain terms, "I don't drink." He yelled slapping at me, "Then, you're not on my team!" Initially, it seemed like a joke, later it became apparent with the comments, like I'm imperious and then he began calling me a "Bitch" in many incarnations and that became de rigueur in the office.
The letter ends with an almost resigned note of fear and despair:
I am afraid that as a result of this written complaint, I will be the target of further retaliation. My concerns have been communicated to HR and my work environment has not improved. I need someone to protect me from Keith.
Thanks for your assistance.
Followup emails between Sony lawyers instruct Le Goy to not "respond to the email or otherwise engage with her," and note that "Keith denied most" of the woman's allegations.