This is a Mess: ‘The Interview,’ Free Speech, Safety and Money


Movie theater

There’s a lot of strange stuff happening in Hollywood lately. I can barely wrap my head around all of the debates about free speech, talk about terrorism vs. “cyber vandalism,” and safety. But I’ve tried. While I’m not quite sure what to make of everything that’s happening concerning the cancellation of the release of “The Interview,” I’ve complied a few thoughts that have been bouncing around my head.

1. Free Speech vs. Safety Vs. Money

On December 17, Sony confirmed that it would no longer release “The Interview” on December 25th as scheduled.

Ugh.

OK, I know that people are quite irritated that a company “caved” to the threats of cyber “terrorists,” and that, yes, it is a blow to free speech. But come on. Everyone knows why the company decided to pull the picture – because of money. Many theaters were baulking at the idea of showing the film as planned, so Sony decided to pull the release… for now. I doubt this film is going anywhere and free speech? It certainly isn’t going anywhere, either.

As many people have pointed out, Hollywood isn’t exactly known for its openness and willingness to produce offbeat movies (aka movies that won’t make money). Heck, it’s still somewhat taboo for men to exhibit “full frontal nudity” in films distributed in the United States. Sure, anyone can make a movie and release it, but that doesn’t mean it will get backed. Free speech should be protected, but I seriously doubt the pulling of “The Interview” is going to allow this right to unravel. And as a reminder: There are plenty of people in the United States (and all over the world) being silenced by violence who dare to be black, a female walking alone at night, gay, etc., every day.

2. How in the Heck Will the World Handle this Type of Thing from Now on?

Yup — I have no idea how anyone will handle this in the future. But it’s quite disturbing that this incident has snowballed into a massive, international situation. President Obama even commented on the hack, expressing that he thought Sony made the wrong move by catering to “terrorists.” Sure, Obama needs to respond to this stuff – it is, technically, a matter of national security. But what is the world going to do about this? This probably won’t be the last time a hack like this occurs. How will America respond in the future? How will other countries respond? We all need to start thinking about how to handle Kim Jong-un and similar leaders in other countries who make threats. This type of stuff can get out of control quickly, and when people respond without thought, disaster is inevitable.

So, what do you all think about this mess? Should Sony have cancelled the release? How should America respond? How do we and other countries respond to these types of threats going forward? I’d love to read what you have to say – please comment.

Resource

Sony Hackers Threaten a New September 11

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Image: Gerry Dincher

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Abbie Stutzer