George Clooney: It’s “Insane” To “Allow North Korea To Dictate” Our Content
George Clooney is infuriated The Interview is no longer being released, saying, “We have allowed North Korea to dictate content, and that is just insane.” The Oscar winner speaks about the massive Sony hacking and the controversial movie in a new interview with Deadline.
Clooney expresses anger that the escalating situation has led to The Interview’s cancellation, and reveals he tried to get his fellow Hollywood stars to sign a petition in support of Sony releasing the film, but after asking “a fairly large number” of people, he couldn’t get anyone to sign on. “I’m not going to name anyone, that’s not what I’m here to do, but nobody signed the letter,” he tells Deadline. (See the text of the would-be petition below).
Clooney continues, “This is just where we are right now, how scared this industry has been made. Quite honestly, this would happen in any industry. I don’t know what the answer is, but what happened here is part of a much larger deal. A huge deal. And people are still talking about dumb emails. Understand what is going on right now, because the world just changed on your watch, and you weren’t even paying attention.”
The star believes pulling The Interview sets a bad precedent that could have devastating consequences in the future. “Here, we’re talking about an actual country deciding what content we’re going to have. This affects not just movies, this affects every part of business that we have. That’s the truth. What happens if a newsroom decides to go with a story, and a country or an individual or corporation decides they don’t like it. Forget the hacking part of it,” he explains.
“You have someone threaten to blow up buildings and all of a sudden, everybody has to bow down,” Clooney goes on. “Sony didn’t pull the movie because they were scared. They pulled the movie because all the theaters said they were not going to run it. And they said they were not going to run it because they talked to their lawyers and those lawyers said, if somebody dies in one of these, then you’re going to be responsible.”
In fact, the actor-director says he spoke with embattled Sony executive Amy Pascal (pictured above), and claims she still wants to release the movie. Clooney personally thinks a digital release should at least still be an option. “Do whatever you can to get this movie out. Not because everybody has to see the movie, but because I’m not going to be told we can’t see the movie. That’s the most important part. We cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong-un, of all f*cking people,” he says.
Clooney further opines, “We have a new paradigm, a new reality, and we’re going to have to come to real terms with it all the way down the line. This was a dumb comedy that was about to come out. With the First Amendment, you’re never protecting Jefferson; it’s usually protecting some guy who’s burning a flag or doing something stupid. This is a silly comedy, but the truth is, what it now says about us is a whole lot. We have a responsibility to stand up against this.”
“What I’m concerned about is content,” he stresses. “I’m concerned that content now is constantly going to be judged on a different level. And that’s a terrible thing to do. What we don’t need happening in any of our industries is censorship.”
None of that is to say Clooney doesn’t take the threats of violence seriously. “The hacking is terrible because of the damage they did to all those people. Their medical records, that is a horrible thing, their Social Security numbers,” he says. “Then, to turn around and threaten to blow people up and kill people, and just by that threat alone we change what we do for a living, that’s the actual definition of terrorism.”
What do you think of his comments?
GEORGE CLOONEY’S PROPOSED PETITION
On November 24 of this year, Sony Pictures was notified that it was the victim of a cyber attack, the effects of which is the most chilling and devastating of any cyber attack in the history of our country. Personal information including Social Security numbers, email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers and the full texts of emails of tens of thousands of Sony employees was leaked online in an effort to scare and terrorize these workers. The hackers have made both demands and threats. The demand that Sony halt the release of its upcoming comedy The Interview, a satirical film about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Their threats vary from personal—you better behave wisely—to threatening physical harm—not only you but your family is in danger. North Korea has not claimed credit for the attack but has praised the act, calling it a righteous deed and promising merciless measures if the film is released. Meanwhile the hackers insist in their statement that what they’ve done so far is only a small part of our further plan. This is not just an attack on Sony. It involves every studio, every network, every business and every individual in this country. That is why we fully support Sony’s decision not to submit to these hackers’ demands. We know that to give in to these criminals now will open the door for any group that would threaten freedom of expression, privacy and personal liberty. We hope these hackers are brought to justice but until they are, we will not stand in fear. We will stand together.