The move came two weeks after WikiLeaks disclosed that it had published 30,287 documents and 173,132 emails stemming from last winter’s cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange said in an April 16 statement that information was newsworthy, adding, “It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there.”
The hack was reportedly initiated by North Korea in response to the studio’s decision to release the comedy “The Interview,” centering on an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. As a result, embarrassing correspondence between top executives and producers became public and helped lead to the ouster of studio chief Amy Pascal and her being replaced by TriStar chief Tom Rothman.
Sony Pictures strongly opposed the release of the material in an April 16 statement: “We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks’ assertion that this material belongs in the public domain and will continue to fight for the safety, security and privacy of our company and its more than 6,000 employees.”
The April 16 disclosure by WikiLeaks included the revelation that Ben Affleck had attempted to conceal his slave-owning ancestors from the PBS documentary series “Finding Your Roots.” Affleck subsequently apologized for having having done so.