Cowardly U.S. theaters refuse to show 'The Interview' after free speech threats

 Security guards stand at the entrance of United Artists theater during the premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los Angeles, California December 11, 2014.  REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

Security guards stand at the entrance of United Artists theater during the premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los Angeles, California December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

Free speech must be defended even when the speech at issue is a sure-to-be-shitty comedy vehicle starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, poking fun at tired ethnic stereotypes.

The Sony Pictures hackers, or someone pretending to be them, recently threatened violence against any theater that showed 'The Interview.'

“Remember the 11th of September 2001," read a threat posted on Pastebin and emailed to reporters. "We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”

The threat specified “the very times and places” at which “The Interview” will be premiered. The movie was scheduled for release on Christmas Day.

Now, theater chains that have said they will not show the film control more than 18,000 screens in the U.S.--that includes Regal, AMC, and Cinemark, as well as Carmike, ArcLight, and Landmark.

An entrance gate to Sony Pictures Entertainment at the Sony Pictures lot is pictured in Culver City, California April 14, 2013. Reuters/Fred Prouser


An entrance gate to Sony Pictures Entertainment at the Sony Pictures lot is pictured in Culver City, California April 14, 2013. Reuters/Fred Prouser

The Department of Homeland Security says the threat is not backed up by "credible intelligence," but the Sony Pictures breach and related matters are reportedly being investigated "not just as a criminal cyber matter but as a national security matter by the nation's law enforcement and intelligence agencies."

Man, this never happened when "Team America" was released ten years ago. If it's North Korea behind the hacks, as many suspect, they sure have stepped up their game. Bear in mind, however, that it's entirely possible that the breach was an inside job.

I propose that we organize a global torrent party of "The Interview" just to stick it to foes of free speech in America, which may or may not include Kim Jong-Un (or a disgruntled Sony Pictures I.T. guy). I say this knowing in advance that I will hate the film. But I hate being told what we can and cannot see, say, or share even more.

A portion of the threat posted this week, by persons identifying as the Sony Pictures hackers.


A portion of the threat posted this week, by persons identifying as the Sony Pictures hackers.

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