After their month-long suspension without pay, the two Sony Pictures executives who were the masterminds behind the phony critic scam returned to work on Monday.
Matthew Cramer, director of creative advertising, and his boss, Josh Goldstine, senior executive VP of marketing, used a fake critic, whom they called David Manning from The Ridgefield Press, to help promote Columbia Pictures films, such as A Knight’s Tale and The Animal. Cramer came up with the ficticious name from an old college roommate. The two execs were reprimanded and suspended on June 7.
Since the incident was publicly revealed, Sony has implemented an internal process of checks and balances to make sure their ad campaigns use accurate quotes. However, the whole incident has spurred some backlash, including 10 proposed class-action suits filed in Los Angeles against putting together “press junkets” for reporters.
Cramer told Variety that the episode is “water under the bridge” but declined further comment. Goldstine could not be reached for comment.