The recent cyber breach at SONY took on a new and terrifying turn of events this week with hacker terrorists threatening to do harm to the audience where the film ‘The Interview’ was scheduled to be shown. The hackers, known as the ‘Guardians of Peace’, offered the following threat:
“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,” the hacking group said. “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001.” (Source money.cnn.com)
Reacting quickly the theaters that were scheduled to show the film decided that in the ‘interests of public safety’ they would cancel the screening. SONY then announced that they would not be releasing the film. The reaction to all this has been mixed as some support the cancellation while others question the action taken by SONY.
This move to terrorism/blackmail by the hackers must certainly have other studio executives pondering future plans for films that touch on sensitive topics. It will be interesting to see how they respond . . . on the one hand is the defense of freedom of speech that Hollywood is famous for and the other is the bottom financial line.
If we look to it, history can provide us with some interesting lessons. Prior to WWII studios were hesitant to produce films that openly criticized the Axis powers as they grew in strength and viciousness. It wasn’t until the Charlie Chaplin film ‘The Great Dictator’ was released in 1940 that studios finally resolved to face reality and confront evil.
It will be interesting to see how the current crop of Hollywood moguls react to this threat.
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