On December 17th, Sony Pictures announced that they will be pulling The Interview from its planned Christmas Day release due to terror threats from a group called the Guardians of Peace. Furthermore, the U.S has come out saying that North Korea is behind the massive cyber hack that embarrassed Sony and exposed its employees.
It’s no secret that when news came out about The Interview, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, North Korean leader Kim Jung Un was outraged and ordered the movie to not be released. Hollywood, of course, said no and filming and production went on as planned, until November came and Sony Pictures experienced the worst hack in its history when 100 terabytes of data were stolen from its data library. To put that into perspective, the printed collection of the U.S Library of Congress is 10 terabytes itself.
The reason why Kim Jung Un was so outraged with this movie is due to the plot revolving around two journalists (played by Seth Rogan and James Franco), whose mission was to assassinate the leader of North Korea.
Guardian of Peace managed to leak out films from Sony Pictures that had not been released yet such as Annie and Still Alice. Additionally, emails between employees were released where they slandered President Obama as well as Hollywood celebrities such as Adam Sandler and Angelina Jolie.
North Korea initially denied allegations about being behind the act, but said that it was a “righteous deed.”
Now, the U.S. government has come out saying that they have linked the hack to North Korea. On December 16th, the hackers issued a threat to movie goers who planned to see the movie stating, “We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places The Interview be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember September 11th, 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.”
This prompted theaters to choose not to show the movie, which in turn led to Sony pulling the movie altogether. In a statement Sony said,
“We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers. Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”
It is unclear if the movie will make a return to theaters in the future or if it will even go to DVD or video on demand, however this move has made many feel it has violated our freedom of speech as many celebrities took to Twitter to defend the movie and denounce the decision made by Sony. You can check out some of the tweets below:
Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them. Wow.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) December 17, 2014
Really hard to believe this is the response to a threat to freedom of expression here in America.#TheInterview
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) December 18, 2014