Sony slammed for surrendering to hackers
Sony has been accused of caving in to hackers, after it decided to pull its controversial movie about the North Korean leader.
The company suffered a highly embarrassing hack on its computer systems, reportedly perpetrated by hackers in North Korea, who were unhappy about the portrayal of an assassination attempt on Kim Jong Un in the yet to be released film, The Interview.
The hackers subsequently threatened cinema-goers, warning of a terrorist attack on venues showing the film. “Remember the 11th of September 2001,” the hackers wrote in a message. “We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”
Sony subsequently decided to scrap the film, after consultation with the cinemas. “In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release,” the company said in a statement. “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”
The decision has been attacked by several high-profile figures in the US, who claim it’s a restriction of free speech. Former US presidental candidate, Newt Gingrich tweeted: “No one should kid themselves. With the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very very dangerous precedent.”
The Oscar-winning writer of The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin, said: “Today the US succumbed to an unprecedented attack on our most cherished, bedrock principle of free speech.”
Author Stephen King also joined the chorus of critics, tweeting: “Sony’s decision to pull The Interview is unsettling in so many ways. Good thing they didn’t publish The Satanic Verses,” a reference to the Salman Rushdie book of the 1980s, that saw the author issued with a fatwa.
Hacked to pieces
The entire saga has been a huge embarrassment for Sony, which has seen confidential financial information published online, unreleased films uploaded to file-sharing sites and basic lapses in the company’s online security exposed. Earlier this week, Sony issued a legal warning to media outlets who were publishing information stolen in the attacks – such as the amounts paid to film stars – in a failed bid to prevent further disclosures.
Sony said that it has “been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like.”
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