Suspected North Korean hackers stop release of a major Hollywood film with terrorist threats.
Here in India, we’re used to arbitrary decisions to shelve/drastically change films based on threats of violence. But we thought Americans held themselves to a higher standard as far as their First Amendment was concerned—and in not negotiating with terrorists.
But the James Franco/Seth Rogen comedy The Interview showed us we were wrong, as Sony decided to cancel its release. The reason? A group of hackers who had previously released a huge stack of Sony’s internal documents after a hack had threatened to attack theatres where the film was playing.
And the US government confirmed that it believed the North Korean government played a central role behind the planning of these cyber-attacks.
Various Hollywood heavyweights, such as Aaron Sorkin, creator of the controversial TV show The Newsroom (whose recently concluded series had a lot to do with cyber-attacks) opposed this move, saying that succumbing to cyber-terrorist threats showed weakness.
They also sternly criticised the media, which had gleefully covered the leaked emails because they contained gossip about stars such as Angelina Jolie, Leonardo di Caprio and Michael Fassbender.
It is believed that Amy Pascal, the head of Sony, was under pressure from other major studios to ensure that The Interviewcontroversy didn’t kill the Christmas box office. Still, this sets a dangerous precedent, where films might be under attack and a source of cheap publicity for lunatic elements—a situation we’re only too familiar with in this part of the world.