Thandie Newton Says Hollywood Executive Amy Pascal Used Black Stereotypes During Meeting

Thandie Newton / Getty Images

By Sara M. Moniuszko – Thandie Newton is opening up about her experience with stereotyping in Hollywood.

During an interview with Vulture, which published Tuesday, the English actress, 47 recounted a meeting she had with Amy Pascal, a film producer and former Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman.

“I had a meeting with her, and she said, ‘Look, I don’t mean to be politically incorrect, but the character as written and you playing the role, I just feel like we’ve got to make sure that it’s believable.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean? What changes would you have to make?’ ” Newton said. “She’s like, ‘Well, you know, the character, as written, she’s been to university and is educated.’ “

She continued, “I’m like, ‘I’ve been to university. I went to Cambridge.’ She went, ‘Yeah, but you’re different.’ She’s like, ‘Maybe there could be a scene where you’re in a bar and she gets up on a table and starts shaking her booty.’ She’s basically reeling off these stereotypes of how to be more convincing as a Black character.”

Newton says she turned down everything Pascal suggested.

Thandie Newton poses in the press room during the EE British Academy Film Awards on Feb. 10, 2019 in London.

In a statement to the outlet, Pascal said she was “horrified to hear” Newton’s description of the meeting.

“While I take her words seriously, I have no recollection of the events she describes, nor do any of her representatives who were present at that casting session,” Pascal’s statement continued. “I’ve long considered Thandie a friend; I’m thankful that I’ve had the chance to make movies with her; and I hope to work with her again in the future.”

USA TODAY has reached out to Pascal’s rep for comment.

In 2015, Pascal exited Sony Pictures after an email hack revealed inappropriate messages, including racist jokes about President Barrack Obama’s taste in movies.

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