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Controversial Kim Jong-un Film “The Interview” Yanked from Its Christmas Day Release, Hackers’ Threats Prevail

Posted By on December 17, 2014

Sony Pictures has yanked the Christmas Day release of the raunchy, controversial comedy "The Interview" after receiving threats

Sony Pictures has yanked the Christmas Day release of the raunchy, controversial comedy “The Interview” after receiving threats

 

Frankly, the upcoming movie “The Interview” sounded inappropriate, in bad taste to me, so I’ve no tears to shed over its being abruptly shelved today by Sony Pictures.

However, had the film’s subject instead been George W. Bush being assassinated and not North Korean leader/man-child despot Kim Jong-un, and had complaints and threats been lodged against the Bush film, would Hollywood have pulled the plug on its release like this?

We’ll never know.

Oh, wait, yes, we do: the film “Death of a President,” depicting the assassination of Bush, was released in 2006, while he was still president. The British film received “measured praise” from the Washington Post and won awards at the Brussels European Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival.

Guaranteed, no “Death of a President” film would ever be made with Barack H. Obama or William J. Clinton as its subject.

If a film depicting the assassination of a Republican president offends a majority of Americans, hey, too freakin’ bad, go read the First Amendment, Bub.

If, on the other hand, a film offends a ruthless communist dictatorship on the other side of the world and/or computer hackers who have sympathies for said communist dictatorship… well then, Americans’ freedom of speech is just a bunch of empty, lofty words.

The elephant in the room: who in the world green-lighted this sophomoric, multi-million-dollar film project in the first place?

Reported by New York Times, Sony Pictures Cancels Holiday Release of ‘The Interview’ After Threats:

Sony Pictures Entertainment has dropped its plans for a Dec. 25 release of “The Interview,” a crude comedy that prompted a threat of terror against theaters.

The cancellation Wednesday afternoon came as the largest United States and Canadian film exhibitors said they would not show the movie.

In a statement, Sony said: “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”

On Wednesday afternoon, AMC Theaters, citing “the overall confusion and uncertainty” around the film, joined Carmike Cinemas, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment in dropping the film. Together, those exhibitors control more than 19,200 screens across the United States. Smaller American chains and Canada’s Cineplex Entertainment also canceled the film.

Spokesmen for AMC, Cinemark and Carmike either declined to comment or could not immediately be reached. John Fithian, chief executive of the National Association of Theater Owners, did not respond to queries. Sony had no immediate comment.

Regal said in a statement: “Due to the wavering support of the film ‘The Interview’ by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to delay the opening of the film.”

Several smaller chains, including Bow Tie Cinemas, with 350 screens, also decided on Wednesday not to show “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of the North Korean ruler, Kim Jong-un, and was co-directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. To depict the killing of a sitting world leader, comically or otherwise, is virtually without precedent in major studio movies, film historians say.

On Tuesday a threat of terrorism against theaters that show “The Interview” was made in rambling emails sent to various news outlets. The threat read in part, “Remember the 11th of September 2001.” The emails aimed the threat at “the very times and places” at which “The Interview” was to play in its early showings.

Once the hackers threatened physical violence, the film’s cancellation became almost inevitable, even though Sony had spent a day maintaining its plans for the release and premiere. Since the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting in 2012, Cinemark had fought lawsuits with a defense that said the incident was not foreseeable — a stance that would have been virtually impossible with “The Interview.”

The film’s collapse stirred considerable animosity among Hollywood companies and players. Theater owners were angry that they had been boxed into leading the pullback. Executives at competing studios privately complained that Sony should have acted sooner or avoided making the film altogether.

From Gawker, Hackers Win: The Interview Is Canceled Across America:

Yesterday morning, anonymous hackers posted an extremely vague threat of violence against cinemas that choose to run The Interview, a Sony Pictures film that might be the cause of their recent hacker troubles. Today, reports indicate the $44 million movie is pretty much called off.

[…]

It’s hard to reconcile the actual execution of cyber-violence with a nebulous threat of physical violence. If the prevailing theory of North Korean revenge is correct, then taking this threat seriously means taking seriously the notion that the North Korean hackers would come to the United States and attack American movie theaters. Or that the North Korean government would, what? Start carpet bombing malls? The message read more like the escalating rhetoric of a group that’s getting global attention and wants to keep up that clip—scare tactics, not military tactics.

But now it doesn’t matter. The Guardians of Peace—whoever they are! We still don’t know who they are!—just axed a $44 million motion picture with an anonymous post on Pastebin. They are, beyond any doubt, extremely good at what they do: fucking things up for Sony. The only silver lining for the thoroughly trounced Sony Pictures is that the movie was going to be a turd anyway.

Latest NYT update:

American intelligence officials have concluded that the North Korean government was “centrally involved” in the recent attacks on Sony Pictures’s computers, a determination reached just as Sony on Wednesday canceled its release of the comedy, which is based on a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.
Senior administration officials, who would not speak on the record about the intelligence findings, said the White House was still debating whether to publicly accuse North Korea of what amounts to a cyberterrorism campaign. Sony’s decision to cancel release of “The Interview” amounted to a capitulation to the threats sent out by hackers this week that they would launch attacks, perhaps on theaters themselves, if the movie was released.

Officials said it was not clear how the White House would decide to respond to North Korea.

More Twitterverse observations and reactions:

Bloody Massacre: Terrorists Strike School in Pakistan, Dozens Killed by Taliban Gunmen, 100 or More Murdered Were Children (video)

Posted By on December 16, 2014

Here, a solider is seen escorting two terrified schoolchildren from the Army Public School that was attacked earlier today in Peshawar, Pakistan, by Taliban gunmen -- at least 100 children were killed, and many more teachers and school workers were also killed by the Islamic terrorists.

Here, a solider is seen escorting two terrified schoolchildren from the Army Public School that was attacked earlier today in Peshawar, Pakistan, by Taliban gunmen — at least 100 children were killed, and many more teachers and school workers were also killed by the Islamic terrorists.

 

A horrific, bloody massacre occurred today at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. Some news accounts cite that 130 or 135 were killed, other accounts that 145 have been killed in the siege. At least 100 of the innocent victims who were murdered were children who attended the school. Many more have been injured, and hundreds of children and teachers have been taken hostage.

The soulless murderers and kidnappers are members of the Taliban. Scumbag cowards who kill children.

Prayers and condolences go to the grieving parents of these dead children, to the surviving victims, to the members of this community — the senseless horror and heartbreak of this vicious attack is overwhelming.

Reported by New York Times, Pakistani Taliban Attack on Peshawar School Leaves 145 Dead:

Pakistani Taliban gunmen stormed into a military-run school in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing scores of teachers and schoolchildren and fighting an eight-hour gun battle with the security forces, officials said.

At least 145 people were killed, more than 100 of them children, in a siege that lasted more than eight hours before the last of the nine attackers were killed, government and medical officials said.

A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban said his group was responsible for the attack and said it was in retaliation for the military’s offensive against militants in the North Waziristan tribal district.

Desperate parents rushed to local hospitals or gathered outside the school gates seeking news of pupils at the school, who ranged in age from about 4 to about 16. The school had about 2,500 students in all, both boys and girls, according to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province information minister, Mushtaq Ghani.

Many others, though, were less fortunate.

The militants’ assault on the school started at about 10 a.m., when the gunmen entered the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Local news reports said the gunmen were disguised as paramilitary Frontier Corps soldiers and gained entry by scaling a wall at the rear of the main building.

The attackers then opened fire on students with guns and grenades and, in a chilling echo of the Beslan school siege in Russia in 2004, took dozens of people hostage in the school’s main auditorium, according to news reports.

Some students managed to flee. Television coverage showed panic-stricken pupils in green sweaters and blazers, the school uniform, being evacuated from the compound. Others were wounded, and were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital in the city, where other parents gathered looking for news of their children. The hospital later published a list of students known to have died; many of the dead have not yet been identified.

By late afternoon, the army said it had cleared three sections of the school compound and that troops were pushing through the remaining sections. After the last of the militants was killed, officials said, soldiers were sweeping the compound for explosives.

USA Today: Taliban kills dozens of children in Pakistani school

 

Dozens of children killed in Taliban school assault

 

From Emirates 24/7, Pakistan school attack, LIVE update: Siege over, 9 militants killed; 130 people, mostly kids, die:

The Pakistani military said on Tuesday that special forces had rescued two more children and two staff members at a school that has been under attack from Taliban gunmen for around five hours. A tweet for the military also said a fifth militant had been killed. The Pakistani military said they were searching for the remaining gunman. “Remaining clearance in progress,” the military said in a tweet.

Police at the high school said they heard three explosions. They were struggling to hold back distraught parents trying to break past a cordon and get to the school when three loud explosions went off.

At least 130 people were killed and 122 injured on Tuesday in an attack by Taliban militants on a Pakistani high school, a provincial official said.

Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the city of Peshawar, taking hundreds of students and teachers hostage in the bloodiest insurgent attack in the country in years.
Bahramand Khan, director of information for the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, said more than 100 of the dead were school children.

Troops surrounded the building and an operation was under way to rescue the remaining children, the army said. A Reuters journalist at the scene said he could hear heavy gunfire from inside the school.

Pervaiz Khattak, Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the province of which Peshawar is the capital, said 84 children had been killed.

“In CMH (Combined Military Hospital) there are around 60 and there are 24 dead in Lady Reading (hospital),” he told local television channels.

It was not immediately clear whether some or all of the children were killed by the gunmen or in the ensuing battle with Pakistani security forces trying to gain control of the building.

Outside, helicopters hovered overhead and ambulances ferried wounded children to hospital.

An unspecified number of children were still being held hostage in the school, a provincial official said, speaking some three hours after the attack began.

The Pakistani Taliban, who are fighting to topple the government and set up a strict Islamic state, have vowed to step up attacks in response to a major army operation against the insurgents in the tribal areas.

More news from the Twitterverse:

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