The New York Daily News is reporting that an unnamed producer raised questions about casting two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington in films dependent on foreign box office returns because the moviegoers there tend to be racist—that is, they don’t support African American leads in movies.
The email is the latest in a string of embarrassing Sony leaks engineered by North Korean-backed hackers. The email discusses Washington’s role in “The Equalizer,” which grossed $191 million worldwide, but fell short of total ticket sales overseas, Radar Online reports.
The producer sent the email to Sony Chairman Michael Lynton, suggesting the motion picture company avoid Black actors such as Washington to win international markets, the News writes, citing a report at Radar Online.
The New York Daily News reports:
“I believe that the international motion picture audience is racist — in general pictures with an African American lead don’t play well overseas,” the producer wrote not long after “The Equalizer” debuted Sept. 26. “But Sony sometimes seems to disregard that a picture must work well internationally to both maximize returns and reduce risk, especially pics with decent size budgets.”
Washington, 59, a Mount Vernon, N.Y., native, has appeared in 43 films that have grossed a combined $2.2 billion, the News notes.