Sony Hack: DGA Weighs In on 'The Interview,' Stands By Seth Rogen

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DGA president Paris Barclay

The guild stands by 'The Interview' directors and defends freedom of expression

The Directors Guild of America has weighed in on the Sony hack, saying that the “unprecedented cyber attack” was an assault on freedom of expression that requires the federal government to increase cyber security.

“As the events of the past weeks have made painfully clear, we are now living in an age in which the Internet can enable a few remote cyber criminals to hold an entire industry hostage,” said DGA president Paris Barclay in a statement.

“This unprecedented situation demonstrates that even basic rights such as freedom of expression can quickly fall prey to those who would misuse and abuse the Internet to steal from, intimidate and terrorize our industry and our nation, and stands as an excruciating illustration of the heightened need for the federal government to increase its efforts to protect our society against cyber crimes, terrorism and all of its implications,” he added.

Barclay alluded to Sony’s decision to pull The Interview without directly criticizing the company for its move, which came after the hackers – now linked by U.S. authorities to the government of North Korea – threatened violence against theaters that would exhibit the movie. The film, a comedy, depicts a fictional assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by American journalists acting on behalf of the CIA.

“We hope that instead of the ‘chilling effect’ on controversial content, this incident becomes a rallying point for all of us who care about freedom of expression to come together and champion this inalienable right,” said Barclay.

So far, though, the incident has indeed had a chilling effect, with at least one other North Korea themed project shelved in the wake of Sony’s withdrawal of its movie. The studio’s decision came after pressure from exhibitors, other studios and even shopping mall owners fearful of violence at mall-located cinemas.

In contrast, many stars and others have spoken out against Sony’s move, including Judd Apatow, Rob Lowe, Mia Farrow, Aaron Sorkin, Michael Moore, Steve Carrell, Bill Maher, Tom Arnold and Jimmy Kimmel.

“We stand by our director members Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and hope that a way can be found to distribute the film by some means, to demonstrate that our industry is not cowed by extremists of any type,” added Barclay. Sony, however, has said that it has no plans to distribute the film in any medium.

Email: jh@jhandel.com
Twitter: @jhandel

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