You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MPAA Chief Chris Dodd on Sony Hack: ‘I Should Have Been More Vocal’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Motion Picture Association of America chairman-CEO Chris Dodd regrets the way his agency responded to the hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and wishes he had been more outspoken when the studio was in the midst of the crisis.

“This happened to a member of our family,” said Dodd. “This was an attack on free speech and private property and as the head of the MPAA, I should have been more vocal.”

Last November, hackers breached Sony’s cyber-defenses and leaked employee’s personal information, internal documents, budget information and email correspondence. The attacks were allegedly launched by North Korea in retaliation for the studio’s release of “The Interview,” a comedy that mocked the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

The MPAA worked behind the scenes to craft a statement of industry support that never came to fruition, but Dodd limited his public comments to a few short expressions of concern. The organization’s silence on the issue has been criticized in some circles because as the industry’s top lobbyist, Dodd is in many ways the public face of the movie business.

His comments to Variety represent his first, in-depth public remarks since the leaks of information and threats of violence stopped.

“In retrospect I wish I’d spoken out more,” said Dodd. “But you live and learn and you move on. Now Sony is back on its feet, and the industry is pulling together around it.”

The MPAA chief said that the attacks were a wake-up call that studios and corporations must remain vigilant about their cybersecurity. He predicted that legislation may occur in response to the threat of similar attacks.

“This was a historic event when you consider the magnitude of the problem,” said Dodd. “It was the largest hack in this country’s history. Just a massive undertaking caused by a foreign government.”

Dodd said he was concerned about what the Sony hacks and last week’s attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by Islamists upset over its depiction of Muhammad mean for free speech.

“If you said to me, what’s the one thing that has been responsible for the 100 years of success of the American film industry, I’d point to one thing — it’s freedom of speech,” said Dodd. “We have always been a great advocate for freedom of expression and speech, and I don’t represent anybody who doesn’t embrace that value.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Naomie Harris Shriek

    'Venom 2': Naomie Harris Eyed to Play Villain Shriek Opposite Tom Hardy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Naomie Harris is in talks to play Spider-Man villain Shriek in Sony’s “Venom 2,” with Tom Hardy returning as the titular anti-hero. Andy Serkis is on board to direct, and Michelle Williams and Woody Harrelson are also reprising their roles. The original film was a huge hit for the studio when it premiered in 2018, [...]

  • David Weisman

    David Weisman, 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' Producer, Dies at 77

    David Weisman, who was Oscar-nominated as producer of “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” died Oct. 9 in Los Angeles due to complications from West Nile virus. He was 77. Weisman had a long career as a graphic designer and photographer and co-wrote and co-directed cult classic “Ciao! Manhattan” about 1960s icon Edie Sedgwick. Born in [...]

  • First still from the set of

    Composer Michael Giacchino on Setting the Right Tone for 'Jojo Rabbit'

    Michael Giacchino is a widely respected film composer, with an Oscar and a Grammy for “Up” and an Emmy for “Lost,” as well as a Grammy for “Ratatouille.” He is stirring up Oscar buzz again with his score for Fox Searchlight’s “Jojo Rabbit,” written and directed by Taika Waititi. Giacchino talked with Variety about the [...]

  • Michael Giacchino Film Composer

    How the 'Jojo Rabbit' Production Team Created a Child's View of Nazi Germany

    When picturing Nazi Germany during World War II, most people think of black-and-white or sepia-toned images of drab cities. For the cinematographer and production designer of “Jojo Rabbit,” a film set squarely in that time and place, it became clear that the color palette of the era was far more varied than they could have [...]

  • Robert Duvall (Oberst Kilgore)

    Studiocanal Steps Up its Heritage Game in Germay Via Arthaus Classics

    LYON, France – Continuing its devotion to heritage film in Germany, Studiocanal is bringing classic movies back into cinemas while also releasing newly restored DVD/Blu-ray collections of beloved titles. The leading producer-distributor enjoyed a major hit this summer with the one-day re-release of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now: Final Cut,” which scored 12,000 admissions in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content