- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman and Tony Kushner are among the writers who signed a PEN American Center petition urging Sony Pictures to make “The Interview” widely available.

Sony announced last week it had called off the scheduled Christmas release of the North Korea satire following hacker threats of violence against theaters showing the film. Monday’s petition from PEN, a literary and human rights organization, said that pulling “The Interview” would be a “lasting blow” to free expression.

Rushdie, a former PEN president, faced dire threats 25 years ago after the publication of “The Satanic Verses.” The novel was condemned as blasphemous by some Muslims, and Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for Rushdie’s death. The PEN petition noted that “The Satanic Verses” continued to be published and sold.

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