Hackers win, Sony cancels film release

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

For the record, I’m furious at all those theater chains (Carmike, AMC, Cineplex, Regal, etc.) that announced today they wouldn’t show The Interview in their theaters. And I’m furious at Sony for announcing shortly thereafter that they were not going to release the film. They all caved to this threat from (according to the FBI) North Korean hackers:

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.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.

And wouldn’t you know, I’d begun thinking I’d go see the film. Not because I have the slightest interest in it, because I don’t. But just to make a point.

I sympathize with Sony, even though their less-than-stellar security has been known about for some time, and even though I thought it ridiculous when they demanded the media not publish the stolen information that was already being widely circulated on social media. They’ve suffered devastating breaches of their computer systems and millions in damages.

And I can sympathize with the theaters. They can run other movies and not risk the possible consequences, however remote, of showing The Interview. The losses, if any, would be Sony’s.

But I’m still angry. Did Sony and the theaters consider the consequences of giving in to the demands of these hackers (calling themselves Guardians of Peace or GOP), of yielding our freedom of speech and assembly here in the US just because criminals in another country don’t like it?

The hackers’ goal was to stop Sony from releasing a satirical film about an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un. They succeeded. Sony and the theaters backed down, tapped out, threw in the towel.

Bad precedent. Very bad precedent. Following this example, it’s likely newly emboldened hackers around the world are already contemplating their next big target in America.

20 thoughts on “Hackers win, Sony cancels film release

  1. I was really, really pissed off about this all day yesterday and I’m still smoldering a bit. I was quite honestly shocked when I heard the New York premier was cancelled. And all this “running for the exits” even after the FBI claims credible evidence that North Korea is behind the hacker attack just adds to the humiliation of cowering down for me personally. And I think that if you are one of America’s veterans this response is even more sickening.

    1. My son kept reminding me this was a worldwide attack on Sony, not in or on America. And I kept telling him I didn’t care about the rest of the world. Sony’s facilities in the US were under attack and it was American theaters that blinked first. WE caved. WE “paid” the blackmailers. I’m disgusted.

  2. I’m with you PT. Before all the craziness, I had absolutely no interest in seeing The Interview, but I sure as hell was interested afterwards. The thing is, I suspect you and I would feel exactly the same way even if the threats had come from our own government. The difference would be that Sony, along with all those theater chains, would be right there with us – with an army of lawyers to back them up…

    1. Our government could seize and close the theaters if it decided to; it has a physical presence here. What could North Korean hackers do? Turn off the lights? And do they really want to provoke a response from a nation that could squash them like bugs?

      1. I seriously doubt that Sony and the gang fear the American government would or could seize and close any theaters. They don’t exactly have a winning record when it comes to such things. Remember Larry Flint (another 1st Amendment ‘freedom fighter’ I supported, despite my disgust)? I suspect that their real fear is of their stockholders and and all the lawyers who might sue on behalf of those claiming to have been ‘hurt’ in some way by these terrorists. As for our governments retaliation against the hackers, I think the movie people would expect the same response I would: a whole lot of talk and very little action…

        1. Oh, I didn’t mean for a second that anyone feared action from our government against the theaters or Sony. But you mentioned it and I just meant that, by comparison, our government would at least have an army to enforce its will. North Korea has squat in this country. It’s just unthinkable to me that anyone here would cave to North Korean hackers at the mere mention of 9/11.

  3. My gut feeling is that the mall located theaters that are adjacent to various other merchants anticipating large Christmas income which might be jeopardized by frightened shoppers staying away in fear of reprisals dictated that Sony remember it’s primary responsibility is to dollars rather than the pride which should have accompanied the citizenship recently bestowed on it and other corporations.

    There was a time when the Japanese abhorred even the perception of surrender. Sony must not have inherited that legacy.

    I’m pissed too.

    1. True, their threat included anything close to the theaters. But do you/they really think anyone would forego their Christmas shopping at the mall because of some vague threat from a bunch of hackers? Does anyone really imagine North Korean hackers are going to crash a plane into a theater in Hoboken, NJ, or bomb a theater in Fargo, ND? We had an actual theater shooting disaster here, but it hasn’t translated to avoidance of malls.

      This whole thing is insane. And infuriating.

      1. I agree with you. However, Sony must think we’re all a bunch of frightened shoppers, or else pressure came from someplace else that held that view. I wasn’t even interested in the movie, but now I’d go for no other reason than rebellion against the view that I’m afraid of a two bit piece of crap like that little Korean midget dictator.

        1. My Christmas wish: Protest marches across American demanding the movie be shown. There are few leaders I hold in lower esteem than Kim Jong Un, that pompous braying ass, and caving in to North Koreans in particular is, or should have been, unthinkable.

          1. And what makes anybody think those honorable North Korean hackers are going to cease and desist now that their demands have been met? What’s to keep them from continuing their attacks on Sony, and from releasing their promised “Christmas surprise” anyway?

  4. I don’t like it either. But I have to imagine what I would do if in the theater CEO’s shoes…. There’s no way the N Koreans would be able to hit all theaters. No way. And I’m sure that security would be heightened prior and during the first show. But what if just one theater was bombed? Imagine the backlash from the public. “You were warned, why didn’t you listen?” Naturally any deaths and injuries would be devastating. But there would also be lawsuits galore from the family members of those who were in the theater.

    Then there is the flip side of the coin — we cannot give in to terrorists. The opens the door for so many other groups to make threats and get their way. Like you, I was also considering going for the same reason.

    The only thing I can say for sure is I’m not glad I was the one who had to make this decision.

    1. Admittedly armchair quarterbacking here is a lot easier than making the call the theater owners had to make. And I’m screaming about principle when all they care about is their bottom line (they aren’t likely to lose any money by not showing an already poorly rated film).

      I wonder if enough people would be angry enough about this to boycott the theaters that decided not to show the movie? Or angry enough to boycott Sony, or Sony products? Oh well, just a thought. As long as their Playstations work on Christmas, nobody will care …

      1. Honestly, I don’t thing they’ll feel much pain from this at all. I thought the story line sucked anyway and imagine a lot of people do, too. I’m sure a significant percentage of people don’t even know who Kim Jong-il is so they weren’t even interested in seeing it. And those same people most likely don’t watch the news and have ignored the talk in social media since it contains politics.

        1. Sorry to say I agree with you. I think most Americans only know the story for the celebrity emails that were released and are circulating on social media. Who said what about whom. Who makes more or less than somebody else. Those are the headlines. Just ask any cable news outlet.

  5. So agree. Where is the outrage from DC and the WHite House over a formal attack on a major industry inside the US? Japan (Sony’s home) isn’t saying much loudly either – but relationships between Korea and Japan are uneasy (For good reason with WW II issues)
    Sony backed down.
    If they had been smart, they would have released the movie to Direct TV and all the other web/TV based platforms and flooded the universe with that movie.
    One Dallas theater angered at Sony’s move is showing a cartoon/satire about the last N. Korean ruler…his father…

    Oh, here’s another cheer you up good dog story from Sausalito. Thought you’d like it if you hadn’t seen it.

    1. Sony could still release the movie anywhere, any time, if the hackers don’t immediately stop their attacks as promised. It will be interesting to see what happens now.

      Great dog story. Thanks for sharing. I needed a smile. 🙂

... and that's my two cents