There’s been a lot of developments tonight surrounding the Sony cyber attack, and while the culprits appear to have been found out, a new threat has been issued, and Sony’s decision to pull The Interview from release has lead to a backlash from big Hollywood names, and The President himself!
Firstly the FBI have now confirmed that the cyber attack, which has crippled Sony, is the work of North Korea in response to Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s controversial comedy The Interview. The film see’s Rogen and James Franco head to North Korea posing as reporters, on a secret mission to kill dictator Kim Jong-un.
In a statement released tonight, the FBI said:
“As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other U.S. Government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions,”
However, before being found out, the hackers sent a new threat to Sony:
“Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy,” the hackers said in a message sent to Sony brass, CNN reported Friday.
The group, calling themselves the Guardians of Peace, called Sony “very wise” to pull the release of the film.
While most cinema chains already pulled the release of The Interview before Sony did, most Hollywood actors, directors etc are annoyed that the film has basically been censored. The Directors Guild of America (DGA) released a statement today calling the Sony hack a rallying call, and totally stood by the film. Here is what their statement said:
“As the events of the past weeks have made painfully clear, we are now living in an age in which the Internet can enable a few remote cyber criminals to hold an entire industry hostage. This unprecedented situation demonstrates that even basic rights such as freedom of expression can quickly fall prey to those who would misuse and abuse the Internet to steal from, intimidate and terrorize our industry and our nation, and stands as an excruciating illustration of the heightened need for the federal government to increase its efforts to protect our society against cyber crimes, terrorism and all of its implications.” said DGA President Paris Barclay.
“We hope that instead of the ‘chilling effect’ on controversial content, this incident becomes a rallying point for all of us who care about freedom of expression to come together and champion this inalienable right. We stand by our director members Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and hope that a way can be found to distribute the film by some means, to demonstrate that our industry is not cowed by extremists of any type.”
President Obama also responded to the threats, however he did not appear to support Sony’s decision to remove the film:
“Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage, threats against some employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns they faced. Having said that, yes I think they made a mistake. That’s not what America is about…I wish they’d spoken to me first. I would have told them, ‘Do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks’.”
Sony CEO Michael Lynton responded to Obama’s comments, saying:
“We have not caved, we have not given in, we have not backed down.”
Lynton today explained that when theaters started dropping out, “we had no alternative but to not proceed with the theatrical release on Dec. 25.” The studio said on Wednesday they would not unveil the film on any platforms any time soon as a result.
“I think the unfortunate part is… The President, the press, and the public are mistaken as to what actually happened. We do not own movie theaters. We cannot decide what will be played in movie theaters,” Lynton told CNN.
However, Sony have now pulled the film from all release schedules, and this was confirmed in a statement issued earlier today:
“that there are ‘no discussions at this time’ about what to do with the movie, but that does not preclude the possibility that there could be discussions at a later date. When that discussion could happen likely depends on factors outside of the studio’s control, including how the Obama administration chooses to respond to North Korea’s alleged involvement in the hack.”
So all eyes are now on what Obama and the US do next in response to such a serious breach of Sony’s personal messages, leaking a number of films (causing financial hurt) and the eventual banning of a film, from a land that champions free speech.
Hopefully, this will be the end of it in terms of North Korea’s involvement, but surely they cannot be allowed to get away with this. I expect there will be plenty more to talk about in regards to this story over the coming weeks.
The Interview is written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and the cast includes Seth Rogen, James Franco, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan, Diana Bang and Charles Rahi Chun.
In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.