Officials at a leading U.S. civil rights group are demanding Sony bosses fire embattled chairman Amy Pascal over a leaked email to producer Scott Rudin, in which she appeared to poke fun at President Barack Obama.

ColorOfChange.org heads have launched a petition urging Sony Pictures executives to sack Pascal after she suggested Obama favours films centring on African Americans.

The activists write, "Pascal's comments are confirmation of the manipulative, exploitative relationship corporations like Sony have with Black folks. Our genius, our cultural products, and our $1.1 trillion in buying power are not given the respect they deserve, regardless of the massive sums of money they result in for people like Amy Pascal.

"We must hold Pascal accountable here; not just for her horrendous comments, but also for her role at the helm of a corporate agenda that views Black America as one big, lucrative joke."

Pascal, who earlier this week (17Dec14) had to scrap the Christmas Day release of new Sony movie The Interview following a series of terrorist threats on cinemas screening the comedy, has apologised for the comments she made in the joke email to Rudin.

She wrote, "The content of my emails to Scott were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am. Although this was a private communication that was stolen, I accept full responsibility for what I wrote and apologize to everyone who was offended."

Pascal met with civil rights leader Revd. Al Sharpton on Thursday (18Dec14) to discuss the racially-charged emails that were leaked as part of the ongoing Sony hacking scandal.