Sean Penn Blasts Sony: "Pandora’s Box Is Open" for ISIS

Sean Penn AFI Fest Arrivals - H 2014

Sean Penn AFI Fest Arrivals - H 2014

The actor criticized the studio and theater chains decision to shelve the North Korean assassination comedy

Sean Penn is criticizing Sony’s decision to cancel the release of The Interview after theaters wouldn't show it and is calling the move an invitation to ISIS.

Penn emailed a statement to Mother Jones in which he wrote, “This week, the distributors who wouldn't show The Interview and Sony have sent ISIS a commanding invitation. I believe ISIS will accept the invitation. Pandora's box is officially open.”

"The damage we do to ourselves typically outweighs the harm caused by outside threats or actions. Then by caving to the outside threat, we make our nightmares real," the actor wrote. "The decision to pull The Interview is historic. It's a case of putting short term interests ahead of the long term. If we don't get the world on board to see that this is a game changer, if this hacking doesn't frighten the Chinese and the Russians, we're in for a very different world, a very different country, community, and a very different culture."

Penn noted Sony’s dilemma wasn’t the first time Hollywood has been threatened by foreign interests. In 1997, Michael Eisner was pressured by China’s government to not release Martin Scorcese’s Kundun, about the country's conflict with Tibet.

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Eisner reportedly responded in an interview with Charlie Rose: "We do not take, as a company, a position either in human rights or not in human rights. We are a movie company. We're an entertainment company."

“That was a pretty shocking statement,” Penn wrote.

On Wednesday, Sony Pictures canceled the release of The Interview after five major U.S. theater circuits shelved plans to screen the Seth Rogen and James Franco film, which was set to debut on Dec. 25. The decision drew criticism from Hollywood and offers from websites, including Gawker and BitTorrent, on how to release the film.  

On Friday, the FBI released a statement confirming North Korea was behind the attack. Hours later, in his final press conference of the year, President Obama said he thought Sony made a mistake in canceling the film's release and said the U.S. would respond to North Korea.

Penn plans to talk with MSNBC's Chris Matthews about the Sony hack and Obama's press conference on Hardball, which airs at 7 p.m. ET.