In a note before the holiday break, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton thanked studio employees for their work in the wake of the massive cyber-attack that forced the cancellation of “The Interview” release.
“I am enormously grateful for all of the hard work you’ve done these last few weeks and know that it has been incredibly taxing,” he said.
The note was sent Friday afternoon in the wake of the FBI’s confirmation that North Korea was behind the hacking and President Obama’s assertion that it was a “mistake” to not release “The Interview.”
Sony had declared on Wednesday that there were “no further release plans” for “The Interview” following terrorist threats by the hackers. Lynton has insisted that the decision to ditch the theatrical release stemmed from theater owners refusing to show the film; on Friday, he asserted that Sony “immediately began actively surveying alternatives” to enable a release on a different platform.
“It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so,” Lynton added.
The hacking included disclosure of personal data of more than 47,000 current and former Sony employees. Here is the entire message:
We’ve been getting a lot of questions asking about our decision earlier this week not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview. This was also addressed by the President today, as you may have seen.
Regarding this matter, I wanted to share the statement we released today with you:
Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment. For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees’ personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film The Interview released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.
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.
After that decision, we immediately began 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.
We are watching the larger story of this unprecedented and highly sophisticated attack on our company by North Korea unfold just as you are. As we learn more, we will keep you informed, but as you saw during the President’s press conference today, this matter is being handled at the highest levels of our government.
I am enormously grateful for all of the hard work you’ve done these last few weeks and know that it has been incredibly taxing. As we prepare to take our holiday break next week, I hope you will enjoy time with your loved ones and take some much needed down time.