Sony Entertainment is still reeling from cyber-attacks that leaked hundreds of gigabytes of private emails and other internal documents for the public to comb through. Now to deal with its PR nightmare, The Hollywood Reporter reports that the studio has hired Judy Smith—George H.W. Bush’s former press secretary and the inspiration behind one of TV’s most iconic characters.
Yes, Smith is the inspiration for (and co-executive producer of) Scandal’s pantsuit-clad superhero Olivia Pope, and her resume is every bit as imposing. In addition to serving in the Bush administration, Smith’s clientele has included everyone from Monica Lewinsky (the Clinton fallout) to the World Health Organization (the SARS outbreak) to NFL quarterback Michael Vick (after he was suspended for dog fighting).
Her firm, Smith & Company, has offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, and describes itself as a “a premier, full-service crisis management and communications firm serving corporate, individual, non-profit and government clients throughout the United States and around the world.”
It’s unclear what Smith is planning for Sony, but an interview with Fortune from 2012 could give us some insight into how she operates. “It’s important not to get so close to the situation that you lose all perspective,“ she told Fortune, adding, “People usually don’t understand that a crisis can be an opportunity, providing the momentum to address real problems in your organization.” Her talent will be tested to find the silver lining in arguably the biggest PR debacle to ever hit Hollywood.