President Obama wants Americans to keep going to the movies, even under the vague threat of hackers who were able to get Sony Pictures Entertainment to shelve The Interview.
The studio on Wednesday announced that it would not go forward with the release of the movie, which is about a fictional plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Hackers that carried out a cyber attack on Sony and already released a number of embarrassing emails and documents had made a threat against moviegoers.
With a number of theater chains already announcing they would not carry the movie, Sony announced that its release would be scrapped entirely.
“In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release,” the studio said. “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”
U.S. officials have said that North Korea is behind the attack.
“We know that criminals and foreign countries regularly seek to gain access to government and private sector networks – both in the United States and elsewhere,” a National Security Council statement said, adding that the FBI was leading the investigation.”We take very seriously any attempt to threaten or limit artists’ freedom of speech or of expression.”
In an interview with ABC News that aired Wednesday, President Obama told Americans not to be cowed be the threats, and that they should keep going to the movies.
“Well, the cyberattack is very serious,” Obama said. “We’re investigating it. We’re taking it seriously. You know, we’ll be vigilant. If we see something that we think is serious and credible, then we’ll alert the public. But for now, my recommendation would be that people go to the movies.”
Obama is not the only politician calling on Americans to speak out against the Sony threats. Mitt Romney, who Obama defeated in the 2012 presidential election, called on Sony to stand up against the threat and release the movie for free online.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) December 18, 2014
Sony Pictures Entertainment has not yet released plans for The Interview.