Obama issues an executive order allowing the Treasury Department to block 10 individuals and three agencies in North Korea from accessing the U.S. financial system and bans U.S. citizens from engaging in business with them in response to the Sony hack. White House press secretary Josh Earnest:
We take seriously North Korea’s attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a U.S. company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression. Today’s actions are the first aspect of our response.
Sony announces a limited theatrical release of The Interview on Christmas Day. The movie will be shown in several hundred independent theaters across the United States. Chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment, Michael Lynton:
We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day. At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.
Sony releases a statement regarding the possibility of The Interview being released via a platform alternative to movie theaters. Their statement comes after President Obama criticized them for canceling the film.
[We are] actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform. It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.
Sony hires Judy Smith, famous for being the inspiration behind the Olivia Pope character on ABC’s Scandal. Smith’s crisis management firm has worked with clients such as Monica Lewinsky, Wesley Snipes, and Michael Vick.
BitTorrent talks to Sony about releasing The Interview on their new, paid service. The company works as a peer-to-peer file-sharing network, with millions of users running the software to share files, making it nearly impossible for hackers to keep up with the quantity. Chief content officer at BitTorrent Matt Mason:
This is a way for Sony to not only deliver the film in a real way, but get out on the side of the hacker community. This is an issue that’s bigger than The Interview, bigger than the Sony hack — it’s really about free speech.
North Korea denies that it was involved in the Sony hack. North Korea calls for a joint investigation into the incident with the United States. North Korean spokesman:
We propose to conduct a joint investigation with the U.S. in response to groundless slander being perpetrated by the U.S. by mobilizing public opinion. If the U.S. refuses to accept our proposal for a joint investigation and continues to talk about some kind of response by dragging us into the case, it must remember there will be grave consequences.
Sony hackers send an email to Sony calling its decision to cancel the release of The Interview “wise”. Hackers tell Sony not to release the movie in any form.
Very wise to cancel ‘the interview’ it will be very useful for you. We ensure the purity of your data and as long as you make no more trouble. Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy.
Penn joins George Clooney, Judd Apatow, Aaron Sorkin and Barack Obama in criticizing Sony for its decision to cancel The Interview, believing the action to set a disturbing precedent.
The damage we do to ourselves typically outweighs the harm caused by outside threats or actions. Then by caving to the outside threat, we make our nightmares real. The decision to pull The Interview is historic. It’s a case of putting short term interests ahead of the long term. If we don’t get the world on board to see that this is a game changer, if this hacking doesn’t frighten the Chinese and the Russians, we’re in for a very different world, a very different country, community, and a very different culture.
The president of the Directors Guild of America, Paris Barclay, releases a statement criticizing Sony’s decision to cancel The Interview and indicates he would like to see it distributed.
As the events of the past weeks have made painfully clear, we are now living in an age in which the Internet can enable a few remote cyber criminals to hold an entire industry hostage. This unprecedented situation demonstrates that even basic rights such as freedom of expression can quickly fall prey to those who would misuse and abuse the Internet to steal from, intimidate and terrorize our industry and our nation, and stands as an excruciating illustration of the heightened need for the federal government to increase its efforts to protect our society against cyber crimes, terrorism and all of its implications.
We hope that instead of the “chilling effect” on controversial content, this incident becomes a rallying point for all of us who care about freedom of expression to come together and champion this inalienable right. We stand by our director members Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and hope that a way can be found to distribute the film by some means, to demonstrate that our industry is not cowed by extremists of any type.
Sony Pictures blame movie theatres for the decision to pull The Interview.
The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film. This was their decision. Let us be clear – the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it. Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.
Paramount Pictures cancels the screening of Team America: World Police, across America. The Alamo Drafthouse in Dallas, Texas and many others were set to play the screening but has cancelled all showings in a public announcement.
Due to to circumstances beyond our control, the Team America 12/27 screening has been cancelled. We apologize & will provide refunds today.
Clooney claims that he and his agent Bryan Lourd presented a petition to the powerful people in Hollywood to sign in support of Sony not submitting to the Sony hacker’s demands, but no one would sign it.
It was a large number of people. It was sent to basically the heads of every place. They told Bryan Lourd, “I can’t sign this.” What? How can you not sign this? I’m not going to name anyone, that’s not what I’m here to do, but nobody signed the letter, which I’ll read to you right now.
On November 24 of this year, Sony Pictures was notified that it was the victim of a cyber attack, the effects of which is the most chilling and devastating of any cyber attack in the history of our country. Personal information including Social Security numbers, email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers and the full texts of emails of tens of thousands of Sony employees was leaked online in an effort to scare and terrorize these workers. The hackers have made both demands and threats. The demand that Sony halt the release of its upcoming comedy The Interview, a satirical film about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Their threats vary from personal—you better behave wisely—to threatening physical harm—not only you but your family is in danger. North Korea has not claimed credit for the attack but has praised the act, calling it a righteous deed and promising merciless measures if the film is released. Meanwhile the hackers insist in their statement that what they’ve done so far is only a small part of our further plan. This is not just an attack on Sony. It involves every studio, every network, every business and every individual in this country. That is why we fully support Sony’s decision not to submit to these hackers’ demands. We know that to give in to these criminals now will open the door for any group that would threaten freedom of expression, privacy and personal liberty. We hope these hackers are brought to justice but until they are, we will not stand in fear. We will stand together.
U.S. officials conclude that the North Korean government is behind the recent Sony hack. U.S. government officials are still discussing the appropriate response to the attacks. U.S. government source:
We have found linkage to the North Korean government.
Rogen and Franco are given round-the-clock bodyguards amidst the Sony hackers threat. Insider:
They’re usually not at all the type to have security. James is the kind of guy who takes the subway all the time.
Marketing posters for the canceled Sony Pictures film The Interview are now on eBay, selling for as much as $550 as speculators capitalize on the cancellation. Unfortunately for buyers, movie poster expert Rudy Franchi says most of that value will be lost within a year.
A year from now, you wouldn’t be able to get more than $15, maybe $20 for them. These things have no intrinsic value to begin with.
The controversial death scene of the Kim Jong Un character in the canceled movie The Interview is leaked to the public.
U.S. investigators believe that the Sony hackers accessed Sony’s computer system by stealing the computer credentials of a top administrator. White House press secretary Josh Earnest:
There is evidence to indicate that we have seen destructive activity with malicious intent that was initiated by a sophisticated actor.
Sony cancels the Christmas Day release of The Interview after the five largest North American cinema chains pull the movie in response to the Sony hacker’s threats. Sony:
We have decided not to move forward with the planned Dec. 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theatre-goers.
New Regency production company scraps plans to produce a thriller starring Carell that is set in North Korea in light of the recent Sony hacker threats.
Sony says it has no plans to release The Interview in the future. Sony deletes any mention of the movie from its website. Sony statement:
Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film.
The New York premiere of The Interview is cancelled due to a message from the Sony hackers threatening attacks on theaters showing the movie.
Obama urges Americans to “go to the movies” in spite of Sony Hackers threats, during an interview with ABC News.
Well, the cyber-attack is very serious. We’re investigating, we’re taking it seriously. We’ll be vigilant, if we see something that we think is serious and credible, then we’ll alert the public. But for now, my recommendation would be that people go to the movies.
Emails leaked by Sony hackers reveal that Trebek recently considered leaving Jeopardy! after producers asked him to re-tape a segment filmed during Kid’s Week. Trebek’s email:
If you all think I should retape the opening, I will. But I want to say that for 30 years I’ve defended our show against attacks inside and out. But it doesn’t seem to operate both ways. When I’m vilified, corporate (and certainly legal) always seems to say ‘don’t say anything and it’ll blow over,’ and I’m not feeling support from the producers, and that disappoints the s—t out of me. If I’m making mistakes and saying things you don’t like, maybe it’s time for me to move on. It’s not a threat, but I want to let you know how I’m feeling.
Sony is being sued by former employees Michael Corona and Christina Mathis, whose social security numbers were made public by the Sony Hackers. The suit alleges that Sony didn’t do enough to protect is employees personal information against a cyber attack. The suit reads:
At its core, the story of ‘what went wrong’ at Sony boils down to two inexcusable problems: (1) Sony failed to secure its computer systems, servers, and databases …despite weaknesses that it has known about for years, because Sony made a ‘business decision to accept the risk’ of losses associated with being hacked; and (2) Sony subsequently failed to protect timely confidential information of its current and former employees from law-breaking hackers who (a) found these security weaknesses, (b) obtained confidential information of Sony’s current and former employees stored on Sony’s network, (c) warned Sony that it would publicly disseminate this information, and (d) repeatedly followed through by publicly disseminating portions of the information that they claim to have obtained from Sony’s network through multiple dumps of internal data from Sony’s Network.
Sony hackers threaten a 9/11 style attack on movie theaters that show The Interview. Message from hackers:
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.
More to come…
Carmike Cinemas decides not to show The Interview in light of the threats made by the Sony hackers. Carmike operates 278 theaters in 41 states.