As a nation that was built upon the Freedom of Speech since 1776, the United States is now facing serious condemnation after many theaters have chosen to ban the release of “The Interview”, which was set to premiere on Christmas day.
At first, there were just empty threats coming from North Korea regarding the film and action it would take against the US, however, the country seems to have followed through and hacked into Sony Pictures. This hack has released delicate information such as the personal salaries of actors, James Franco and Seth Rogan, as well as information regarding other movies that Sony has produced in the past.
Copious amounts of disapproval are being thrown at the United States by much of Hollywood, including well-known producer Judd Apatow, who said: “I think it is disgraceful that these theaters are not showing The Interview. Will they pull any movie that gets an anonymous threat now?” Actor Ben Stiller who tweets “really hard to believe this is the response to a threat to freedom of expression here in America.”
While Apatow and Stiller may be among the many who are disparaged by the cancellation of this 42 million dollar film, the concern remains that anonymous hackers were in fact able to get past the thousands of firewalls and privacy systems that were used by Sony to protect its valuable treasury of information.
What does this mean for other potentially “controversial” movies? Will the American people be stuck watching G rated movies about living happily ever after? Unfortunately, the United States is still irresolute about how to fight back, mostly because the hackers who erased and leaked all of Sony’s files have yet to be found. In a statement released December 18, 2014, Sony asserted that it would “stand by our filmmakers and their right to freedom of expression”- but with the hackers still on the loose and claiming to take more serious action if the United States allows the production of any further movies that “harm the dignity of its supreme leader,” other films are facing cancellation as well.
The movie “Pyongyang,” which was to be produced by Steve Carrell and released in 2015 will no longer premiere, much to the distaste of Americans around the country. Team America, a film that was released in 2004 by Paramount pictures is being taken off American blockbuster shelves (better get your copy now) under fear that the same hackers who attacked Sony will go after Paramount as well.
Does this mean that “James Bond 007”, “The Birth of a Nation” and “The Dictator” will be taken out of the market as well? What about “A Clockwork Orange”, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, and “The Passion of the Christ”?
It’s absolutely deplorable that the United States has caved into the demands of an oppressive regime on the other side of the world, and even more unfortunate that it still has no plan of action regarding how it will prevent attacks like this in the future. But the question remains, what does this mean for potentially controversial movies in the future? As of right now, this future looks bleak. This isn’t to say that we will be stuck watching “My Little Pony”, or “The Barbie Dreamhouse” for the rest of our lives, but it is to say that producers, actors and filmmakers alike will think twice, or even thrice before creating a potentially contentious movie plot. The United States may be a nation built on the Freedom of Expression, but it is currently not living up to its name.
[Image Attribute: PixalBay]