It’s a sad thing to say that I wasn’t terribly surprised that Sony pictures received such awful backlash from North Korea about satirical film, The Interview. American comedians and media have been in hot water before with other extremist r another regarding censorship. From the first teaser trailer I felt a strange uneasiness about the safety of Seth Rogen and James Franco. After all, North Korea are an extremist communist nation and it’s not like this is the first time we’ve received threats if we don’t censor ourselves.
What I did not expect was for Sony Pictures to comply and completely put the motion picture on the shelf. It took mere moments for Twitter, Facebook, and various other Social Media sites to go nuts. Everyone from your opinionated Facebook friend who Tweets too much, to Hollywood professionals, to President Obama himself reprimanded Sony for giving in to the cyber-terrorism from North Korea.
Obama has publicly announced that Sony made a mistake and that they should have consulted him before taking such an action, because he would have strongly advised not to let North Korea get away with their threats. Others are obviously being less politically correct than Obama and calling Sony cowards for caving in.
However, I think that people are too caught up in the hype of this ordeal and the American Way! to realize that this is an issue that is unprecedented. Yes, America has been threatened before for releasing controversial content but never has a cyber attack on a major corporation of this magnitude taken place. Those who hacked Sony threatened to blow up movie theaters. Sony’s lawyers told them that it would be completely on them if they went through and released it.
No, Sony shouldn’t have shelved the movie. Yes, they did let the cyber-terrorists get what they want. However, it’s only because movie theater chains were saying they wouldn’t screen it. It was the movie theater industry that refused to support Sony. George Clooney came out and said that he passed a petition around for Hollywood professionals to sign in support of Sony releasing the film and not giving in to North Korea, but not a single person was willing to put their name on that list. Without the rest of Hollywood’s support, they were cornered.
This is such an important event because it deals majorly with what America as a nation stands for: freedom. Specifically, freedom from censorship. A few years backh Park was heavily criticized and even threatened by Muslim extremists for the fact that they were going to depict the Prophet Muhammad. Ultimately, Comedy Central ended up censoring out the image all together without the creator’s permission and even took out some dialogue. Fear is in our nature, and sometimes we need to look past the eagles and stars and stripes for one second to realize that at the moment when these big decisions were made, they were made with the intent of saving lives.
Now, instead of crucifying Sony for making a human error, we should be using our social media presence and voice to encourage them to release the movie via another platform. This is something the CEO has already has already said is underway. They’re saying that they do believe anyone who wants to see this movie should be able to.
I’m not trying to defend Sony, merely shed light on the situation for those who are uninformed. There’s a lot more factors as play than you think. That said, we shouldn’t let some Dictator in North Korea believe that they have power just because they threatened us with violence, or else it will set a precedent.
If Matt Stone and Trey Park could blow up Kim Jung Uns’ father’s head in a feature film, then let James Franco have his interview.
Click below to watch an animated 10-year-old sarcastically tackle censorship and violent threats that lead to it.