- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hollywood stars and politicians took to social media to decry Sony Pictures Entertainment’s decision Wednesday to pull its Christmas release of “The Interview” after a terrorist threat by North Korea-friendly hackers.

“Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them. Wow,” said actor Rob Lowe in a post on Twitter.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich responded, “[I]t wasn’t the hackers who won, it was the terrorists and almost certainly the North Korean dictatorship, this was an act of war.”

Among the most vocal critics was director Judd Apatow, who blasted the major cinema chains that refused to show “The Interview,” which spurred Sony’s decision to pull the $42 million film. The comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong-il stars Seth Rogen and James Franco.

“I think it is disgraceful that these theaters are not showing The Interview. Will they pull any movie that gets an anonymous threat now?” Mr. Apatow said on Twitter.

Mr. Apatow added, “We also don’t know that it isn’t a disgruntled employee or a hacker. Do we think North Korea has troops on the ground in the US? Ridiculous.”

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Actor Steve Carell said, “Sad day for creative expression #feareatsthesoul,” even as the Hollywood Reporter cited sources saying that New Regency has dropped plans for its own North Korea-set movie starring Mr. Carell in the aftermath of the cyberattack on Sony.

Actress Evan Rachel Wood suggested that the terrorist threat and hack may have backfired on the hackers by drumming up interest in “The Interview.”

“All the “hackers” have done is drawn more attention to #TheInterviewMovie,” she said on Twitter. “Seems like shooting yourself in the foot to me.”

Conservative pundit Mary Katharine Ham started a petition on Change.org urging Sony to release “The Interview,” saying that, “We will watch this movie just to piss off people who don’t want us to. Because America. Also, it sounds fun. But we can only do that if you release it.”

Talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel called Sony’s move an “un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent,” and then urged FoxNews’s Megyn Kelly to air the entire movie on Fox during a Thursday interview on his ABC late-night show.

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had a creative solution: Release the movie online free and ask for voluntary $5 donations to fight Ebola.

Comedian Patton Oswalt added, “All joking aside, we just gave a comfy foothold to censorship & it doesn’t get any better from this point on.”

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