When news spread on Wednesday that Sony had decided to cancel The Interview after hackers threatened 9/11-level attacks, Hollywood’s actors, directors, and producers weighed in with overwhelming disapproval.
In a statement, Aaron Sorkin, who had previously rebuked the media for publishing emails and documents leaked in the Sony hack and called it worse than the nude photo leak, said that the press was at least in part responsible for the terrorists’ success.
“Today the U.S. succumbed to an unprecedented attack on our most cherished, bedrock principle of free speech by a group of North Korean terrorists who threatened to kill moviegoers in order to stop the release of a movie,” he wrote. “The wishes of the terrorists were fulfilled in part by easily distracted members of the American press who chose gossip and schadenfreude-fueled reporting over a story with immeasurable consequences for the public–a story that was developing right in front of their eyes. My deepest sympathies go out to Sony Pictures, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and everyone who worked on The Interview.“
Many in Hollywood took to Twitter to mourn a serious loss for creativity and free speech, including Steve Carell, whose own North Korea-set film with Gore Verbinski was also halted on Wednesday. In an exclusive statement to Deadline, Verbinski addressed New Regency’s decision: “I find it ironic that fear is eliminating the possibility to tell stories that depict our ability to overcome fear.”
Judd Apatow expressed frustration with Sony for making such an extreme decision on an anonymous threat. (This was before United States intelligence officials confirmed to The New York Times that the North Korean government was “centrally involved” in the attacks.)