Sony hacking story takes a 'Scandal' turn

Sony has retained Judy Smith, real-life inspiration for 'Scandal's' Olivia Pope, in hacking crisis

The story of Sony's corporate hacking crisis and the subsequent fallout revolves around a feature film, "The Interview." But events are now taking a turn straight out of a TV show. "Scandal," to be specific.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sony has retained the services of crisis management expert Judy Smith and her firm, Smith & Co., to assist Sony in shaping its messages moving forward. In addition to her handling of such high-profile clients as Monica S. Lewinsky, NFL player Michael Vick and former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, Smith is also known as the inspiration for Olivia Pope, the Washington crisis expert played by Kerry Washington in Shonda Rhimes' hit ABC series.

What makes the story especially "Scandal"-ready is that news of Smith's hire came just as President Barack Obama publicly criticized the company's decision not to release "The Interview" on Christmas Day after online threats from hackers believed by the FBI to be from North Korea.

On the series, Pope is having a secret affair with the president of the United States while simultaneously handling crises that sometimes help but sometimes hinder him.

In real life, Smith worked in the White House as the deputy press secretary for President George H.W. Bush before going to work in the private sector.

In a Times profile in 2012, Smith said: "You need to be strategic in your thinking. You have to understand the problem, the issue and the landscape. It's almost like a chess game. You want to stay several steps ahead and anticipate someone else's position."

As Pope would say, "It's handled."

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
69°