- The Washington Times - Friday, May 26, 2017

Pirates probably didn’t pilfer the new Johnny Depp movie after all, Disney CEO Bob Iger said Thursday.

Disney was recently told hackers had obtained an unreleased film and were holding it for ransom, but the studio has since determined the alleged extortion attempt was a whole lot of hooey, Mr. Iger told Yahoo Finance this week.

“To our knowledge we were not hacked,” Mr. Iger said Thursday. “We had a threat of a hack of a movie being stolen. We decided to take it seriously but not react in the manner in which the person who was threatening us had required.”

“We don’t believe that it was real and nothing has happened,” he added.

Mr. Iger first acknowledged the extortion attempt during a town hall with ABC employees in New York City on Monday last week when he said individuals claiming to have obtained an unreleased Disney movie had threatened to publicly release the film unless the studio handsomely compensated the hackers claiming responsibility.

Disney refused the ransom demands and notified the FBI, entertainment website Deadline first reported last week.

The Disney chief hasn’t disclosed the name of the supposedly stolen movie, but Deadline previously reported that hackers had acquired “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” the fifth installment of the studio’s widely successful “Pirates” franchise staring Mr. Depp which is scheduled to open in theaters Friday. The claim was widely propagated in the wake of the initial Deadline report but was never independently corroborated.

Disney’s run-in with would-be extortionists occurred on the heels of a similar incident involving streaming service Netflix and an unreleased season of its hit series “Orange is the New Black.” A hacker or hackers identifying themselves as “The Dark Overlord” leaked most of the next season of “Orange is the New Black” online last month after Netflix allegedly failed to heed a similar ransom request. Netflix blamed the security breach on a third-party vendor at the time and said it was working with law enforcement.

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