North Korea owns Hollywood, apparently

One of my favorite films of all time is 1940’s The Great Dictator. It’s a political comedy that stars comedian Charlie Chaplin as a thinly-veiled caricature of German dictator Adolf Hitler. At the time of the film’s release, Hitler was still in power and a very real threat to the world. The United States hadn’t entered the war yet, and in fact, the war hadn’t even started when Chaplin conceived of and began work on the film. Back then, the true atrocities of the Third Reich were not yet known, so the movie almost comes across as soft on Hitler now. But while there are no concentration camps in the film, it’s still a scathing rebuke of the brutality of the Nazis and Hitler’s antisemitic rabble-rousing.

North Korea owns Hollywood, apparently

It’s hard to imagine a time when talking smack about Hitler could be considered brave or controversial, but remember, at the time, both the US and England were officially at peace with Germany. During the making of the film, the British government made it known that they intended to ban it in the UK (they changed their tune once war was officially declared), and even after release, it was prohibited in some parts of Europe. Regardless, The Great Dictator quickly became the most commercially successful film Chaplin ever made, and it’s remembered as a classic, and one of the greatest political satires in film history.

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That was 1940. Now it’s 2014, and comedians Seth Rogen and James Franco have made a film called The Interview. It’s a political comedy revolving around a caricature of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. It was scheduled for release Christmas Day. However, following a threat by hackers to attack any theater showing the film (threats which Homeland Security says aren’t even credible), theater chains slowly began scrapping plans to screen The Interview, until finally Sony Pictures cancelled the release of the film altogether. In response to the cancellation, some theaters elected to instead show Team America: World Police, a 2004 film that takes similar satirical aim at Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il. However, Paramount, the studio that owns that film’s distribution rights, responded by pulling that movie, too.



I can’t even…

Seriously, this whole thing it’s so insane, it legitimately leaves me speechless. A major studio has just cancelled a much anticipated Christmas release based on a vague, unsubstantiated threat by an anonymous group. How is this even possible?

North Korea owns Hollywood, apparently

Forgive me for getting a bit nationalist for a moment, but this whole thing feels so terribly… un-American. I admit to having mixed feelings about my country. We’re not perfect, and in fact we quite frequently suck. But if there’s one thing we’ve never been known to do, it’s bow to the demands of terrorists and dictators. Defiance of authority is at the very core of our cultural identity. As a nation, we still cling to our distorted self-image as the plucky rebel underdogs who fought off British tyranny*, even now that we’ve become a major superpower. We jump at the chance to take down any dictator that even so much as looks at us funny, even when it’s not a terribly good idea. We’ve prided ourselves on our hardline stance against negotiating with terrorists. And yet, we now have several American corporations (Sony is Japanese, but Sony Pictures is an American subsidiary) rolling over for a dictator who’s no threat to anyone outside of his own country, much less to a global superpower on the other side of the planet. We’re not only submitting to his demands, we’re actively silencing attempts to show any defiance to those demands, no matter how small the scale.

[*Emphasis on the “distorted” part. We have a very warped view of our own history here.]

And whenever I think about The Interview side by side with The Great Dictator, which my brain stubbornly refuses to stop doing, it becomes even more baffling. Granted, Seth Rogen and James Franco, fans of their work though I may be, are no Charlie Chaplins, and I highly doubt The Interview is going to be regarded as a classic on the level of The Great Dictator. But still, comparison is warranted, especially considering how Chaplin received comparatively little resistance for what was, at the time, a far riskier film. He took aim at one of the most dangerous dictators of our age. Rogen and Franco are targeting a regime that’s so little of a threat to global superpowers that its constant ineffective posturing is a running joke in most of the world. So how are Rogen and Franco the ones that got their film completely banned?

And why is this happening now? The Interview is hardly the first piece of American media to be insulting to North Korea or any of its long line of horrid leaders. There was the aforementioned Team America. There was that terrible Red Dawn remake. They were the bad guys in Die Another Day and Olympus Has Fallen. Iron Sky and GI Joe: Retaliation took a few jabs in some throwaway jokes. Saturday Night Live, MADtv, 30 Rock, CollegeHumor, Epic Rap Battles of History, and I’m sure many others I’ve never even heard of have all filmed skits satirizing both Kim Jongs, -il and -un. Are we going to pull all of those from circulation as well? Why are we suddenly tiptoeing around this issue?

North Korea owns Hollywood, apparently

I’m terrified as to what the implications of this could be. Everything our current president does, down to the way he holds a cup of coffee, gets called a “sign of weakness” by his opponents. So how much of a sign of weakness is it that our country’s media is bowing to the wishes of one of the most ineffectual dictators in the world? We’re sending out a message that we can be bullied and blackmailed by anyone, even with no proof of a threat. Anyone with an agenda can make any demand of the entertainment industry as long as he/she phrases it as a threat and, if this incident is any indication, they can expect to have their whims fully catered to.

Great art is courageous by nature. Nothing changes without courage. Chaplin was courageous when he made The Great Dictator. And whether or not The Interview ends up being “great” art, it’s art nonetheless, and it’s certainly courageous (even if there was no reason to expect this kind of resistance). If we censor those who would use art to criticize real people, regardless of who those people are or how dangerous they may be, we’re essentially robbing art of its ability to impact us.

Imagine if we reacted like this during the Cold War. Every other movie was about the evils of Communism and the Soviet Union. Art constantly targeted the only superpower that could rival us, which was a nuclear-armed one at that. The USSR had a figurative gun to our heads and it didn’t silence us. We can’t let it silence us now. We can’t send the message that we can be threatened into submission, or that anyone, much less Kim Jong-un, has immunity from satire.

Ever heard of Pulgasari? It was a North Korean monster movie, directed by Shin Sang-ok, at the time a South Korean prisoner of Kim Jong-il. The elder Kim was a fan of the kaiju genre and wanted North Korea to have its own Godzilla-esque movie, so he kidnapped Shin and forced him to make it. The finished film’s narrative reads as something of an allegory for the rise of the communist regime, said regime being represented by a giant monster. It’s often believed that the film was actually Shin’s subtle rebuke of the tyrannical North Korean dictatorship. Which means a man who was a prisoner of North Korea had the courage to satirize the country’s leadership. How can we, being at infinitely lesser risk, be so cowardly in comparison? Shin Sang-ok risked his life to take a dig at North Korea. Can we do any less?

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  • Wizkamridr

    Did Yahoo steal your idea? They mentioned The Great Dictator as well. I’m pretty sure N Korea is still a threat, even if people think they are a complete joke. We had mock drills all the time when I was stationed at Camp Casey.

    • The Great Dictator is kind’ve an obvious comparison to make. I’m far from the only one.

    • Loads of people covering this have mentioned The Great Dictator.

  • Egil Hellá

    Those are some really good points and I am really shocked that Hollywood have lost their balls and also why do you not make videos anymore ? and by the way here is a little gift for any North Korean censor reading this

    • It just became untenable. I no longer have a place for my set, and editing with my resources became more of a hassle than it was worth. And honestly, I never was any good at it.

      • Egil Hellá

        I thought that your videos were really good and I really wish that you cod have made a video about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 because that would have bin freaking epic

  • tcorp

    First off, Sony’s decision was not about freedom: it was about capitalism. Sony didn’t want to tank the Christmas box office for other studios’ and their movies and wipe out theaters’ revenues by releasing a mediocre Seth Rogen comedy. That move would have been worse for Sony than their current decision. Plus, like you said, Sony Pictures Entertainment is controlled by its Japanese parent corporation. The Japanese have a different cultural perspective than Americans on situations like this and probably didn’t want to pick a fight. Besides, they already have a tense relationship with North Korea. So they wisely chose to do damage control, even if they were unwise in other ways.

    Second, I find it mildly amusing that everyone on TAB chewed out Winston for stating that the U.S. Government isn’t the only entity that can “censor.” Here, folks, is Exhibit A demonstrating why you’re wrong. Even if North Korea hadn’t orchestrated this attack, who cares? It still would have been censorship.

    Third, I also find it hilarious that liberals who labeled the Citizens United decision as the “worst decision . . . like ever” are implicitly affirming in this case that Sony AS A CORPORATION has a right to free speech. So a corporation has no right to free speech when it helps Republicans get elected into office, but it does when your buddies in Hollywood get burned? Right . . .

    Fourth, my admission that Sony’s move to pull the movie was wise notwithstanding, I don’t understand why people are so sympathetic to Sony’s plight (see, e.g., Aaron Sorkin). Every corporation knew they needed to beef up their cyber-security, particularly after the Target credit card breach last year. Sony did nothing and got burned. While I am sympathetic to employees whose social security numbers were disclosed, I don’t care if Amy Paschal and Paul Rudin are really good people deep down inside. They made some really stupid remarks, yet Hollywood’s response is to minimize–again, because Paschal and Rudin are “buddies.”

    • Toby Clark

      “Second, I find it mildly amusing that everyone on TAB chewed out Winston for stating that the U.S. Government isn’t the only entity that can “censor.” Here, folks, is Exhibit A demonstrating why you’re wrong.”
      No, everyone chewed him out for completely misunderstanding the very articles he was supposedly arguing against while actually agreeing with.

      • Mike

        “Third, I also find it hilarious that liberals who labeled the Citizens United decision as the “worst decision . . . like ever” are implicitly affirming in this case that Sony AS A CORPORATION has a right to free speech. So a corporation has no right to free speech when it helps Republicans get elected into office, but it does when your buddies in Hollywood get burned? Right . . .”

        It’s the writers and directors who are being denied the right to free speech, not the corporation. If anything, it’s SONY who is failing to support the free speech writes of their artists at the present time (though they could rectify that by making the movie available online.) Sony was the official censor by bowing to pressure. The hackers just initiated the banned.

        • tcorp

          No, the writers and directors contracted with the corporation to produce a product subject to the corporation’s interests in producing and releasing that product. The product belongs to the corporation. A similar example would be an engineer who develops a better detergent for Tide. In that case, Tide would own what the engineer develops in his scope of employment. It’s no different that these events involve a creative work either. SPE could have simply refused to release the movie on its own; that wouldn’t have been a denial of free speech.

          • Mike

            If you look at books plays, or movies solely as products like detergent that would fit. If you like at books and movies as products AND ART, (as I do) than the analogy doesn’t work. Yes it’s a business decision, but it’s a business decision meant to suppress art based on someone’s objections to the IDEAS contained (or assumed contained) within that art. That to me (as already explained on my post in the Winston free speech article) is censorship by corporate oversight. It’s the not unlike the CBS network pulled the plug on The Smothers Brothers Hour in response to pressure over it’s political humor. It may not be a first amendment issue since it doesn’t involve the U.S. Government, but I would still call it censorship. This doesn’t mean that I think I studio should never cancel movie release for any reason, but I do think it isn’t right for a studio to ALWAYS have the power to cancel a release for any reason. Indeed in the Smother Brothers case, they sued CBS for contract violation only the cancelation and won.

          • tcorp

            First, you’re not countering my original third point. That is to say, you’re not arguing (explicitly, anyway) that Sony as a corporation doesn’t have free speech rights.

            Second, if a decision not to express is reasonably related to a threat to that expression, then the threat itself is censorship, not the decision NOT to express. If I stage a protest in Ferguson, MO, and someone threatens me or my organization with violence, and I respond by cancelling the protest, then I’m not the cause of the censorship. The violent threat is.

            It doesn’t even matter if I control the means to someone else’s expression–again, so long as I respond to the threat reasonably. Let’s go back to the protest example. Let’s say I own a park where I will allow people to protest in Ferguson. If someone threatens to bomb the park during the protest, and I cancel the protest in response, I’m not the censor. The guy who’s threatening my park and the people in it is.

            The key difference between my Ferguson example and this scenario is that it’s questionable in the Ferguson example whether my hosting a protest in my park is my expression per se. I think the case is stronger for Sony here precisely because Sony’s product is expression.* Either way, the interest of the “means controller” is being harmed here, and it’s difficult to imagine that actions taken under duress somehow transform the “means controller” into a de factor censor.

            Third, censorship implies non-consent. The writers and directors did not consent to the hacker’s threats. HOWEVER, the writers and directors did consent to Sony’s response. All parties involved with this movie probably agreed to a contract stating that, in the event of a “force majeure” (which usually includes terrorist activity), Sony would be relieved of its contractual duties, at least partially. So Rogen et al. have a remedy! It’s their contract! If they don’t like what they voluntarily signed, too bad. Unless the contract is oppressively one-sided (and it’s hard to argue that in this case), the writers and directors aren’t being denied free speech rights by Sony because their rights in relation to Sony are contractual.

            *The argument you didn’t make was that Sony was merely a vessel for the individuals’ collective free speech rights. Thus, the corporation does not necessarily have free speech rights as an entity. While this is certainly the better argument to make, it also begs the question of what constitutes corporate speech versus individual speech (see, e.g., the Hobby Lobby decision). Because Sony was threatened as a corporation and thereby censored as corporation seeking to release a product equivalent to expression, I think any recognition of free speech has to be attributed (at least partially) to the corporation itself. All the individuals’ rights, as stated above, are contractual.

            P.S. This is a lot longer than I thought it would be.

          • Mike

            This is all I have left to say on this matter (because your response was a lot longer than I thought it would be too):
            a) I do not personally believe that a corporation is a citizen, though I admits the line between corporation speech and individual speech can become blurry. I just personal feel the rights of individuals should come before corporation most of the time, though it admittedly I currently understand little about the legal particulars of such matters (like the Hobby Lobby decision) and right now it doesn’t really interest me…so my views on that larger matter could someday change. I’m just more concerned about artistic freedom than corporate contracts.
            B) Whoever made the decision it was done in response to threat meant to suppress a work of expression. That would seem to fit the non-consent part you mentioned. Though even if it had been the writers and directors who made the call to shelve or even alter their work (what might be considered self-censorship) I still would have been disappointed by the decision and just as understanding as to why the decision was made in these case.

            I suppose my main mistake was not reinstating that pressure groups violent or otherwise (that tacit censorship I mention in that other forum) where the driving force. I did not mean to suggest that Sony should bare all the blame, only that they made the final decision.

      • tcorp

        No. You–and the guy whose comment you upvoted–misread Winston’s article. Winston argued consistently that non-governmental entities can limit a conceptual (not constitutional) “right to free speech” AND that such limitation can qualify as “censorship” as the term is commonly used. Such non-governmental limitation can be harmful in the long run, even if it isn’t illegal. Thus, invoking some categorical right of all private entities such as message boards/forums/etc. to ban whomever they want with impunity for saying certain things leads to questionable ideological results.

        This case proves that point because you can’t admit that the hackers effectively impeded Sony’s “right to free speech” without subscribing to some notion of its application to non-governmental entities.

  • Clu Gulager Alert!

    It’s easy to say the theater threats are baseless when you ignore the previous hack of Sony, which you did in your piece (unless I missed something). That hack cost Sony millions by spoiling unreleased movies, damaging their public reputation and goodwill, and providing fuel for many employment lawsuits.

    If the movie theater threats had been made without that initial hack, the Sony execs would’ve laughed about them while toasting at the premiere. A 9/11-style attack may have been an absurd threat, but it doesn’t mean the hackers couldn’t have inflicted more damage on Sony (or Paramount, for that matter) if The Interview had been released on schedule.

    The Great Dictator release is an apples-to-oranges comparison to this. The very real damage to Sony and threats to movie theaters came via the internet, a medium that didn’t exist in 1940. It’s less likely that The Great Dictator would’ve seen the light of day if Hitler had the ability to retaliate against United Artists. Sony and Paramount are both concerned, first and foremost, with making money, and North Korea threatens that ability in a way that Hitler could not in 1940.

    ETA – a terrific breakdown of why Sony didn’t make a stupid or “un-American” decision:

    • Sony gets hacked so often I am starting to wonder if it is some kind of guerrilla marketing strategy, and connecting the leaking of emails to the idea of 9/11 style violence (how exactly? They gonna crash a plane into a Regal cinemas?) is silly (“They have the ability to brute force our email password…. THEY CAN’T BE STOPPED”).

      And here is a Cracked article on why the studios acted like chicken shit,

      • Marcus

        Sony gets hacked so often because they’re pathetically incompetent at security — some of the leaked files were huge collections of passwords *stored in plaintext*.

        It would be ironic if some of the security holes had been opened by old Sony CDs.

    • Marcus

      One of the commentators shot that argument down in flames by posing the question of what Scott Adams would do if some two-bit dictator decided that the “Elbonia” strips were insults aimed at him and threatened to blow up any newspaper that continued to carry Dilbert?

  • Greg

    One the movie does not feature a caricature of Kim Jong-IL, it features a character that is supposed to be the actual dictator.
    Two it is easy to criticize people for caving into pressure when you are not on the receiving end of threats.
    Let’s say the studio released the movie and there is an actual attack that results in the loss of life. That loss will be on the conscious of the decision makers. That attack will be seen as an act of war that will have the United States and its allies in conflict with North Korea and its allies. The deaths caused by the war are also on the conscious of the decision makers. In short no one wants to be the persons that triggers a nuclear war

    • Let’s be clear:
      1) If North Korea is willing to start an atomic war over a movie, they were going to start a war for any goddamn reason under the sun, that just happened to be the one.

      2) It is not the job of studios or theaters to make sure the American people are safe, that is the government’s job, and if they can’t with the billions of dollars spent on military equipment when facing off against a country that is starving to death, then what the fuck else do we need to do to be secure?

      3) We should not allow crazy assholes to dictate the speech of free citizens, it is damaging to not only the entertainment industry but all markets that depend on making money from people gathering in a place to purchase things.

      • Greg

        Yes the North Korea could declare war over any reason. My point is that the studio doesn’t want to be responsible for a war
        It’s also not the responsibility of the studio to preserve constitutional rights they are free to deal with this situation however they please

        • Greg

          Three there are occasions where one should placate the crazy asshole for a little while in order to stop him in the long run eg Neville chamberlain allowed hitler to invade Poland because the British army was in ruins from the last world war. That compromise actually helped the allies win the war

          • Placation is only helpful in an instance which allows for a gathering of resources. The United States as effectively infinite resources compared to N Korea. The idea that this is a tactical retreat is folly. This placation sets a precedent that any terror group can make a threat and expect capitulation. It only opens the doors to more threats for any number of movies, tv shows, or any god damn thing in the world.

          • Greg

            Placation is always helpful because it provides one with time for planning your next move while making the enemy overconfident and more likely to make mistakes.

          • Greg

            Just because terrorists make threats and expects capitulation doesn’t mean they are automatically going to get it because people and organizations are free to respond differently. Also the hackers are blackmailing the company with stolen information that may be used to hurt people if not ruin lives. It is easy to criticize when you are not in the line of fire

        • The studios would not be responsible for a war. If North Korea started a war over this, then they would have started a war over anything. North Korea would be solely responsible for such a conflict.

      • Cristiona

        The Aurora theater was sued by the families of the shooter’s victims. There was no threat, just a nut who shot up the joint.

        The problem is Americans’ propensity to sue at the drop of a hat makes risk-taking far more… well, risky. If the movie was released and something actually happened, the theaters (and likely Sony Pictures) would be sued into oblivion for ignoring the threat, no matter how laughable it was.

  • David F White

    Is this suppose to be P.C. ?? This is condescending Tolerance and understanding!! There is no excuse for this!! Fuck North Korea!!!

  • SithSmurf

    Sony can fight this, but not by releasing the movie. If they released the movie as planned, they would’ve done a lot more damage to themselves by keeping people out of theaters than they would have to North Korea.

    Sony’s just not equipped to fight a government like North Korea’s on these terms.

    What they can do is fund political campaigns in South Korea for candidates less friendly to North Korea and more friendly to South Korea’s own armed forces. They might, possibly, influence Chinese politicians one way or another, and I think China is really the only country in a position to put pressure on North Korea.

    Let the movie get leaked onto the internet. Let a million YouTubers take jabs at North Korea and, for that matter, China. Image is very important to the guy who puts the “dick” in “dictator,” and very important to a lot of others around him with, you know, guns. If enough of those people see him as an embarrassment, Kim Jon Un might find himself being retired with extreme prejudice.

    I completely agree that this is abhorrent, and a betrayal of something a lot of people have fought and died for. But if we fight back — with the emphasis on _if_, unfortunately — it should be done intelligently.

  • Severian

    It’s not “America” that caved here, it’s capitalism. Sony saw a threat to its bottom line (to say nothing of all the theater managers who would have spent the whole film’s run gnawing their fingernails in terrified anticipation of some kind of attack), and made a business decision. Corporations don’t care about free speech, standing their ground, or making a noble point if their profits are being threatened.

    • Mike

      All true. Which is why it would have better to let the individual theaters make the decision for themselves. The face the more immediate threat. With no clear sigh that pulling the movie would present another cyber attack (indeed this may only encourage it), this seems to have more to due with assuming the movie couldn’t make the projected profit on it’s planned release that.
      Of course studios have delayed releases before sighting “sensitivity” issue, but it’s basically the same concern about low turn out at play. “Phone Booth” was delayed once because of 9/11 (I think), again because of the D.C sniper attacks of 2002 (I’m sure), and by the time it was given a final release the Iraq War was starting up. The isn’t really any such thing as a RIGHT TIME to for free speech or even free commerce.

      • Jonathan Campbell

        “Which is why it would have better to let the individual theaters make the decision for themselves”

        They WERE allowed to make the decision themselves. A number did, and only THEN did Sony pull the rest. I imagine that part of the reason was likely that so many cinemas pulled the movie that they decided it was unlikely it would ever make enough money given its limited release and decided it just wasn’t worth it anymore, especially given its mixed reviews.

        • Mike

          I meant they should have STUCK with that original decision. The rest is pretty much my point. Minus the reviews which I know nothing about

  • Silly Sony, Kim Jong-un’s North Korea can hardly launch a missile worth a damn, let alone launch a cyber-attack able enough to do real damage…

    • Mike

      Maybe not, but it’s not clear at the time if they knew N.K. was the real source of the threat. Even if they did, there was always a possibility SOMEONE ELSE make be inspired to follow through on it.
      I’m as upset and angry about the implication as everyone else it seems, but I think the studio had ever reason to be afraid even if this wasn’t the correct response. Even if there was a less than 10% chance of a terrorist attack on a theater, all it would take is one attack (especially on Christmas Day) to cause massive PR damage and any number of lawsuits. Even if no one died, the though of someone photograph or videotaped running out of a theater with their leg on fire is scary enough. Than there would be tons of people demanding to know why they DIDN’T delay the release. Not to mention all the other studio with their premiers (Into the Woods) scheduled that day.
      I agree this sets a terrible president and the studio would have been better off just delaying the release or sending it directly to video or the internet (which I hope they’ll do eventually). But even if this was the wrong response, that doesn’t mean I can see that fear as legitimate.

    • Murry Chang

      Yeah I highly doubt NK is behind this, no matter what the government says.

      • Jonathan Campbell

        What are you basing that on?

        • Murry Chang

          The lack of tech expertise in NK, the lack of tech expertise anywhere in our government except possibly the NSA, the hackers saying nothing whatsoever about being from NK until that idea started floating around the webs and the hackers sending that ‘You are idiots’ video to the FBI. If it was the North Koreans, the very first thing they would have done is vandalized the Sony websites to display the fact and the second thing they would have done is crow about it.

          Obama is saying it because it’s better for business than saying “We don’t know exactly who is doing this and have no real good way to find out because we don’t actually understand this whole computers thing.”

  • NixEclips

    Well done, sir. Your reference to the cold war was spot on.

  • Zack_Dolan

    You know, you and I have differed greatly on opinions many many times, but this time i gotta say, we’re in agreement 100% on this. it’s seems so strange that a – in all likelihood awful – rogan and franco dime a dozen comedy is this nexus point for this very real threat to artistic freedom, but as a friend of mine put very well “I don’t give two shits about rogan or franco because they are generally unfunny tools, but I DO however have plenty of shits to give about their right to be as unfunny as they want to be” and that’s pretty much where i stand. it’s not about the movie, odds are no one would even remember it in a month without this thing going on, but it’s about the fact that basically we as a nation have just declared to the world “if you don’t like something and threaten to kill people about it, we’ll just straight up give you whatever you want. we don’t even care if you have any ability to carry out this threat, if you make it, we will knuckle under to it, so who’s first?” and that is a VERY bad precedent to set. To say nothing of the fact that we seriously are entertaining threats from a giant moon faced child with a 2 dollar haircut banging his spoon on his high chair bcs he can’t take a joke. If hitler – FUCKING HITLER – could watch the great dictator and take the joke gracefully and this asshole can’t, he needs to seriously rethink his life. he isn’t just going full hitler, he’s actually OUTDOING hitler in the douche category. just….THINK about that….

    Now, I actually have heard rumblings that sony might actually release the film anyway due to some possible backpeddling on the part of N. Korea. this could all be hogwash, i have no verification at all, but i think it was something like they said they could release the movie if they just removed the scene where they kill kim jong un is killed…or something. i have no clue. BUT I joked the other day that wouldn’t it be crazy if it turned out sony made the whole thing up and delibrately tanked the movie to distract from that whole “all our secrets have been leaked and we look like the biggest, most sexist, racist assclowns in the business” thing that’s been going on, plus they can get a nice tax write off if they take a bath on this. Now if that thing about them getting to release it is true….man, it sure would be convenient that sony could suddenly garner a lot of sympathy AND look like heroes for releasing the movie anyway bcs they “didn’t bow to the terrorists” just a few days after they were made to look worse than they ever have and had their whole company put in danger? I dunno….never been a conspiracy theorist and it’s not like i have one single fact to back any of that up, but….it’d sure be something if it was true, huh?

    honestly i’m not sure which one would be worse now that i’ve said it out loud. man, we live in fucked up times….

  • Mamba

    Has anyone ever considered that this could just be a stunt to drum up publicity once Sony eventually changes their mind and releases it later on, like you know they are going to because the whole thing is stupid?

    If this hacking attempt never occurred, would anyone really even care about this movie? It would just be another political-based Seth Rogan fratboy-mindless flick, but NOW, it’s suddenly the film that was “So controversial that it was banned from release…until today!!!”

    Like others say, North Korea says far worse things all the time and nobody cares because we know it’s BS. Hackers can be anybody, just ask the gouvernment. Why would they cave now, unless they had something to gain later and they knew it?

  • Gallen_Dugall

    It’s Sony Pictures, not really Sony.
    Sony Pic didn’t pull the movie. Theaters dropped it. That left Sony with the option of spending money for a premiere when it wouldn’t be available in theaters, or shelving it. This isn’t the first movie to be shelved, it won’t stay on the shelf forever, and if the planned Hustler porno about the N Korean dictator isn’t infinitely more humiliating for the fat troll I’ll be disappointed. When it does come out it’ll do better than it has any right to.
    Worth noting also that the hacker academy in N Korea is a Chinese project and it answers to the military in China. N Korea doesn’t do jack without Chinese say so. The reason why the FBI will come up with nothing in its investigation is because the State Department will never let them bad mouth China. All this outrage over N Korea is empty and pointless.
    I’ll also guess that lucky social engineering (probably involving a disgruntled employee) and not mad hacker skills was responsible for the scale of this debacle.

  • The_Stig

    It’s time we stopped pretending that this bad parody of a totalitarian dictatorship has ever been a threat.

  • Earthbound_X

    They’ve released the movie digitally since the article, and NK has done nothing, just like we knew.

  • Wizkamridr