How the Grinch Stole “The Interview”

By Jon Carey, Chapter Member

Ebenezer Scrooge delivered an early present for those who expected to seen Seth Rogen and James Franco’s latest film release. Sony made the shocking decision to pull The Interview from its Christmas Day release. Bah Humbug!

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Movie poster for Seth Rogen and James Franco’s The Interview

Sony decided to cancel the release of The Interview after a string of attacks launched by North Korea. The company had been hacked by the North Korean hacker group “Guardians of Peace.” This group strung out a long line of attacks strategically crafted to increase international tensions. Guardians of Peace threatened future terrorist attacks towards the United States if the film was shown.  In response to their terrorist threat, Sony took The Interview from all theaters and screening platforms from the Christmas Day release.

The Interview is directed by Seth Rogen ad Evan Goldberg, and is starring James Franco and Rogen. Franco plays journalist Dave Skylark who works with producer Aaron Rapoport to land an interview with North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un for their celebrity tabloid show “Skylark Tonight”.  Their plans change as the CIA recruits the duo to assassinate Kim Jong-un.  Celebrity cameos in the film are Rob Lowe, Eminem, Bill Maher, Seth Meyers, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Many celebrities were frustrated with Sony’s decision to pull the film from theaters.  Some employees of Sony such as Ben Stiller, Damon Wayans, Adam Sandler, Rob Lowe, and Jimmy Kimmel bashed the recent cancellation through social media.  Kimmel called Sony’s  action, “an un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions,” in a tweet.


Judd Apatow, producer and frequent collaborator with Seth Rogen

Rogen’s frequent partner in collaborations, Judd Apatow, decried his outrage towards Sony for pulling the film.  In an interview for The Frame, Apatow said,

I think we’re in a dangerous situation when we give in to these types of threats, because it trains people to threaten us. So unless there’s very credible information that there’s the potential for real violence, then we have to be very careful about not presenting movies, because tomorrow someone else can just put in a call.”

Judd Apatow is one of many stars giving his insights about the cowardly decision to pull the film from theaters.  George Clooney recently attacked Hollywood for opting out of the film release.  Clooney even created a petition supporting the release of the film, but many workers in the film industry refused.

Sony fell into a bad PR crisis after pulling the film.  The fans, casts, and employees of the film banded together to petition for the film to be released.  This PR event is more than just about a film.  A film cancellation like that becomes a dangerous threat to our freedom of speech.  Our first amendment revolves around freedom of speech, being allowed to create ideas based on our perceptions of the world.  If we allow foreign countries like North Korea to dictate what we should provide for our audience, we lose the important rights we fought for over 300 years ago and found this country on.  More censorship decreases our freedom to create unique ideas stemming from our individual perspectives of how life works.  After the film’s cancellation, Sony made plans to stream the film through video service sites such as YouTube or Google.  North Korea’s latest threat poses a danger to our film industry and our right to freedom of speech in America.


One response to “How the Grinch Stole “The Interview”

  1. Sure to be discussed in our crisis com class!

    Robert E. Brown, Ph.D. Professor, Communications Department Faculty Advisor: Public Relations Student Society of America Member, Editorial Board: Public Relations Review; PR Inquiry Salem State University 352 Lafayette Street Salem, MA 01970 978-542-6463 Web site & Blogs: Twitter: @gatheringlight ________________________________

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