Sean Penn Blasts Sony for Pulling ‘The Interview’

Sean Penn Sony Hack
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Actor Sean Penn has criticized Sony Pictures Entertainment harshly over its decision to pull “The Interview” from release.

Penn, in an email to Mother Jones, said: “This week, the distributors who wouldn’t show ‘The Interview’ and Sony have sent ISIS a commanding invitation. I believe ISIS will accept the invitation. Pandora’s box is officially open.”

On Wednesday, Sony cited terrorist threats from hackers in its announcement to ditch the comedy. Penn said, “The damage we do to ourselves typically outweighs the harm caused by outside threats or actions.”

Penn also said that the issue of the Sony hacking should go before the United Nations.

The FBI linked the hackers to North Korea on Friday. President Obama said Sony had “made a mistake” in pulling the film.

Penn’s full statement:

It’s not the first time culture has been threatened by foreign interests and corporate caution. See [then Disney CEO] Michael Eisner’s interview with Charlie Rose in 1997, when Disney was dealing with pressure from China about Martin Scorsese’s Tibet film, Kundun. Eisner said, “we do not take, as a company, a position either in human rights or not in human rights. We are a movie company. We’re an entertainment company.” That was a pretty shocking statement. (Disney, which was looking to expand its ventures in China, did end up distributing the film, but distribution was limited and the advertising budget was low—and despite these concessions, Disney was largely frozen out of the Chinese markets for years.) This week, the distributors who wouldn’t show The Interview and Sony have sent ISIS a commanding invitation. I believe ISIS will accept the invitation. Pandora’s box is officially open.

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.

I’m not sure the world has come to terms with all the implications of the hacking. I was in Liberia and Sierra Leone right at the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in April. It did seem to those of us there that the response was neither coming swiftly or with a true sense of urgency. This feels the same. This matter should be before the UN Security Council today.

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  1. cadavra says:

    Has there ever been an article that began, “Sean Penn Praises…”?

  2. CMarks says:

    Different story had it been one of Penn’s recent movies – nobody goes anyway.

  3. Charles J. Wesoky says:

    As a longtime exhibitor, I agree with Sony’s decision and the exhibitors to pull The Interview out of the cinemas. If President Obama and his administration gave assurance that not one single cinema would be attacked and patrons harmed before the film was pulled it could have made a difference. But our industry depends on having the best interest of our customers, not the Monday morning quarterbacks who have different agendas. We don’t need another ‘Batman’ type incident no matter who is making the threat.

    • cardmarc58 says:

      They stated quite a few time that there was no threat and anyone with more than a few functioning brain cells knows that North Korea has no violent capabilities outside of their own small region.

  4. PETER says:

    What’s the leftist, pussy United Nations gonna do about it, Sean?

  5. Great says:

    Yes and tell the UN security counsel how Sony been ripping me off for the past four years too. Please.

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