The “Christmas surprise” that hackers promised Sony may not be those diamond earrings it was hoping for as the so-called “Guardians of Peace” (the message was unsigned, but they are the presumed culprits) have ratcheted up their rhetoric to violent levels in a message accompanying another batch of internal Sony data.
The Interview has been at the center of these attacks from the beginning, which is why North Korea has been on Sony’s list of suspects since those innocent days when we were all scratching our heads wondering why someone would bother to leak the new Mike Leigh movie. The Interview was notably not on that list of leaked films, but the GOP did release a statement calling for Sony to cancel the movie’s release a little over a week ago and the final scene of the movie was leaked yesterday as part of the latest batch of stolen data. Gawker has posted the scene, still marked “Property Of Columbia Pictures,” on its Defamer website, even after Sony handed out sternly worded letters threatening legal action in response to the leaked Spectre script. (This is not the first time Gawker has made the decision to post leaked information.)
Still, even as the situation has become a labyrinthine mess involving half of Hollywood, numerous print and online media outlets, and Aaron Sorkin, discussions of the situation have revolved mostly around the ethics and legal implications of reporting stories based on private correspondence. But now, building on an e-mail to Sony employees threatening their families’ safety, the hackers have upgraded themselves to cyberterrorists by invoking the 9/11 attacks in a message warning movie theaters not to screen The Interview:
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
In the wake of this frightening new development, The Interview stars Seth Rogen and James Franco have canceled all scheduled media appearances and interviews about the movie. Sony has yet to make an official decision on the fate of the movie, but the Department of Homeland Security says it has found “no credible evidence” suggesting an active plot against movie theaters in the United States. However, a litigation expert tells Deadline that, at the very least, theaters screening the film will be obligated to post signs telling patrons about any potential danger.
Meanwhile, two former employees have filed a class action lawsuit against Sony claiming the company did not do enough to secure its systems and prevent the hacking, because why not pile some complicated legal proceedings on top of all this?