Disney Chief Bob Iger Doesn't Believe Movie Hack Threat Was Real
Some news outlets rushed to proclaim that 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales' was the subject of a ransom demand, though there was never any indication the threat involved the Memorial Day weekend tentpole.
Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger confirmed Thursday that a hacker claiming to have stolen an upcoming Disney movie and demanding a ransom didn't appear to have the goods.
"To our knowledge we were not hacked,” Iger told Yahoo Finance. “We had a threat of a hack of a movie being stolen. We decided to take it seriously but not react in the manner in which the person who was threatening us had required.”
Iger continued, “We don’t believe that it was real and nothing has happened."
On May 15, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Iger told ABC employees at a town hall meeting in New York that someone claiming to have stolen an upcoming movie would release the film on the internet unless the company paid a ransom. Iger told staff that the studio wouldn't meet any such demands.
Iger didn't reveal the name of the film that was the subject of the threat, but some news outlets, citing anonymous sources, proclaimed it was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. According to insiders, however, the threat never involved Pirates 5, and no movie might have actually been pirated. In the days before Iger's session with ABC staff, rumors circulated online that a working print of Star Wars: The Last Jedi had been pirated and was being held for ransom, but days later online chatter pronounced that rumor a hoax.
Hackers demanding ransoms has become a hot-button issue in Hollywood. One hacker recently uploaded 10 episodes of the fifth season of Orange Is the New Black ahead of its official launch after Netflix refused to pay a ransom. Several Hollywood agencies have also been targeted by hackers with extortion plots in recent months, including UTA, ICM and WME.