Free speech went down under the boot of totalitarianism this week, as Sony Pictures finally caved to the demands of North Korea (or rather, passionate freelance admirers of dictator Kim Jong Un who have absolutely no connection to his regime whatsoever, if you’re in the mood to believe Pyongyang’s statements on the matter) and began shutting down “The Interview.” The upcoming Seth Rogen – James Franco comedy is a satire in which a couple of bumbling reporters are tasked by the CIA with assassinating Kim Jong Un. The film has already been edited once to make Dear Leader’s death scene a bit less graphic – he apparently went down like the Nazis at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in the original cut – but the regime, and its completely unconnected pack of swooning hacker fanboys, were not mollified. They tore into Sony’s computer systems with a devastating data raid, possibly assisted by disgruntled company insiders, and flooded the Internet with every bit of dirty laundry they could find – from financial statements and the sensitive personal data of Sony employees, to nasty little email exchanges in which executives spoke poorly of their pricey talent. There was even a racist exchange mocking President Obama between producer Scott Rudin and Sony Pictures Chair Amy Pascal, in which they speculated that the President was only interested in films such as “Django Unchained,” “12 Years a Slave,” and the comedy stylings of Kevin Hart. Fortunately for Pascal and Rudin, rich Hollywood executives are fully vested members of the liberal aristocracy, so top black entertainment figures rushed to declare them utterly free of racist intent, and they’ll probably suffer nothing worse than having to issue public apologies. It’s not like they’re the Koch Brothers or anything. The damage to Sony was nevertheless enormous, alienating both investors and movie stars – a group not generally known for their humble willingness to forgive insults. Neither is Kim Jong Un, so when Sony insisted that “The Interview” would go forward, the Norks escalated to threats of physical terrorist violence, referencing 9/11 as an example of what theater patrons could expect to encounter when the film premiered on Christmas Day. More via Human Events.
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