With the recent news that Sony has pulled The Interview for Christmas release following terrorist threats from hackers alluding to a 9/11-like attack on theaters that screen the film, Hollywood has reacted swiftly and uniformly in blasting the studio for their decision. The film, which stars Seth Rogen (Neighbors) and James Franco (127 Hours), had gotten the attention of North Korea (whom is believed to be tied to the hack) because it depicts the assassination of leader Kim Jong Un.
A wide array of celebrities from Judd Apatow (This Is 40) to Joss Whedon (The Avengers: Age of Ultron) have taken to Twitter and other forms of social media to lampoon Sony for backing down. And although the criticism ranges from thoughtful to mocking, the thesis remains the same; Sony Pictures has allowed what (at this point) are unsubstantiated threats to hinder artistic expression. Apatow, who is a friend and frequent collaborator to Seth Rogen, was one of the most vocal critics, questioning whether Sony’s decision has set a precedent that lets anonymous threats dictate what movies will screened in theaters.
I think it is disgraceful that these theaters are not showing The Interview. Will they pull any movie that gets an anonymous threat now?
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) December 17, 2014
What if an anonymous person got offended by something an executive at Coke said. Will we all have to stop drinking Coke? — Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) December 17, 2014
We also don’t know that it isn’t a disgruntled employee or a hacker. Do we think North Korea has troops on the ground in the US? Ridiculous — Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) December 17, 2014
Others, such as Michael Moore (Sicko), reiterated the same point in a more playful, snarky tone.
Dear Sony Hackers: now that u run Hollywood, I’d also like less romantic comedies, fewer Michael Bay movies and no more Transformers.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) December 17, 2014
Sad day for creative expression. #feareatsthesoul
— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) December 17, 2014
Even ideological opposites were unified in their criticism of Sony Pictures. Comedian and liberal champion Bill Maher (HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher) and conservative personalities Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich all expressed their disdain for Sony’s decision to cave in to the threats. Maher made a point to cite people’s inherent fear at the mention of 9/11 and capped it off with a pointed, if blunt, hashtag.
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) December 17, 2014
While the hacking already proved to be a damaging situation for Sony, it seems that public perception has gotten decidedly worse for the reeling studio.