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Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal stepping down in wake of hacking scandal

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The hacking scandal that's plagued Sony Pictures for the past few months appears to have claimed a new victim: studio chief Amy Pascal. Today Sony announced that Pascal would be stepping down from her post in May, and will instead be launching a new production company based at Sony.

"I have spent almost my entire professional life at Sony Pictures and I am energized to be starting this new chapter based at the company I call home," Pascal said in a statement. "I have always wanted to be a producer." While that statement may be true, Pascal has been under considerable fire in recent months. Pascal's work emails were among those released to the public late last year after Sony Pictures was hacked, revealing an exchange between Pascal and producer Scott Rudin that was condemned as being racist (Pascal later apologized). The emails also included the behind-the-scenes wrangling that eventually led to Sony losing the Aaron Sorkin Steve Jobs biopic. That film later ended up at Universal.

Pascal has been with the studio since 1988 and has long been considered to be one of the studio heads most willing to take creative risks. Under her guidance, Sony Pictures has released both box-office friendly films like Casino Royale and 21 Jump Street, but also riskier fare like The Social Network, American Hustle, and Zero Dark Thirty.

"In her years at Sony Pictures, Amy worked with some of the best talent in the film industry to create many of our studio's most beloved and successful films," Sony CEO Kaz Hirai said in a statement. "I want to thank her for her years of dedication and I am pleased that she will continue to work closely with SPE in her new venture."