The XX Factor

Sony Pictures Hack Reveals Stark Gender Pay Gap

Hannah Minghella, co-president of production at Sony’s Columbia Pictures division, makes much less than her male counterpart, according to hacked Sony documents.  

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Variety

The massive Sony Pictures hack—by who? North Korea? A disgruntled employee?—has revealed a lot of intimate detail about the people who work at Sony. Reporters who’ve combed through the compromised internal documents say they include social security numbers, passwords, medical records, disciplinary files, and, inexplicably, “the breastfeeding diet of a senior executive.” And, because salary data was also breached, we now know for a fact something we assume about most major American companies: The women who work at Sony are being paid less than the men.

Over at Fusion, Kevin Roose has been parsing the numbers. According to a spreadsheet listing the salaries of 6,000 employees, which Roose cautioned had not been confirmed by Sony, 17 U.S. employees are making $1 million or more. Only one of those is a woman. Roose followed up with a piece looking at the salaries of co-presidents of production at Sony’s Columbia Pictures division, Michael De Luca and Hannah Minghella. They have the same job and—oh dear, this is awkward—he’s making close to a million dollars more.

Earlier this year, after they started their partnership, De Luca and Minghella were asked by the Wrap: “Is there any tension between you two now that Mike is sharing the same title as Hannah?” “Just sexual tension,” De Luca joked. Ha! Now there might be more.

Meanwhile, somehow the Sony hack also accessed internal documents from consulting firm Deloitte, which were on a Sony computer. And guess what? You’re never gonna guess. A Deloitte salary spreadsheet from 2005 reveals that 85 of the top 100 earners there were men. In fairness, the document appears to have been put together to “understand if there was racial or gender-based compensation discrimination within the company,” Roose writes. I guess they got their answer. (Deloitte wouldn’t confirm the data.)

This has been a crappy week for women in the workplace. In oral arguments, several Supreme Court justices seemed skeptical that companies are obliged to offer pregnant employees a modicum of flexibility, so that they don’t have to choose between lifting heavy packages and compromising their pregnancies, or losing their jobs. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Valleywag reported that a 41-year-old mother had also filed a lawsuit against the online real estate company Zillow, claiming, among other things, that she had been  badgered for being “too old to close.” And earlier in the week, the Recorder broke the news of another lawsuit against Zillow, this one by a former female employee describing a frat-like atmosphere of sexual harassment at the company. Rachel Kremer alleges that an IT employee said he’d reset her password in exchange for “boob pix,” that her supervisor sent her a photo of his penis, and so much more. Much of this egregious behavior was over email and text, so Kremer was able to provide evidence of the harassment in the lawsuit (including the lovely penis photo). It’s not clear what’s more astonishing: the outrageousness of the male Zillow employees or their sheer idiocy in creating a digital paper trail.

Speaking of digital trails, more details about life at Sony may emerge in coming days. But for now, there’s this script for a recruiting video, properly described as “cheesy,” in which an HR executive refers to “how great it is to work at Sony Pictures Entertainment.” A more honest video might add, “but it’s better if you’re a man.”