Sony said in a statement Wednesday that it is canceling release of the film, following a series of threats made over the past few weeks, including promise of an attack on theaters screening the film. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal and New York Times, citing unnamed officials aware of the investigation, reported the US government has evidence North Korea is behind the attack.
Sony, meanwhile, said it had no further plans for the film’s release. “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,” a Sony spokeswoman said in a statement.
The move came after many of exhibitors chose to cancel screenings of the film, which had been scheduled for December 25. Sony said it shares movie theater owners’ concerns about safety for employees and patrons.
The move tops weeks of public humiliation for Sony, whose internal financial documents, unreleased movies, emails and other information were stolen and leaked on the Internet. The hackers, who called themselves the “Guardians of Peace,” claimed to have been motivated by “The Interview” and demanded it not be released.
But it was the specter of a potential terrorist attack, threatening the safety of theatergoers and people who live nearby, that changed the dynamic of Sony’s approach, said Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment expert at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. Now, the result may leave movie makers feeling pressure to self-censor their work.
“This is a sad and dangerous moment for American films and possibly for other forms of American media as well,” Volokh said.
The consequences of Sony pulling “The Interview” from distribution in response to the hack of their systems could make people uncomfortable with the technology that’s become pervasive in modern society, said online media and
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