For those of you who thought freedom of speech and expression are unanimously valued rights in the United States, you were dramatically disabused of that notion on Wednesday when Sony Pictures Entertainment canceled the Dec. 25 premiere of The Interview starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. The decision came after the company’s IT system was hacked and many internal company emails were posted online. Those hackers also warned theaters and movie goers not to screen the film, which depicts a fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. That threat made reference to the September 11 attacks, but the Department of Homeland Security called it “not credible.” Now, U.S. officials said they have evidence indicating North Korea was in fact behind this cyberterrorism.
Sony’s decision to pull the film (at least for now) sends a clear message that by threatening people with violence, you can get your way. We’ve always known this to be an effective tactic, of course, but rarely is such violence threatened when the stakes merely entail the showing of a movie. South Park nailed this “lesson” in the 200th and 201st episodes of the series back in 2010. The episodes aired after Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s latest run-in with Comedy Central executives who were squeamish about the creators’ desire to depict Muhammad, which of course is haram, as the world found out in 2006 when Muslim fanatics rioted and attacked several European embassies after a Danish newspaper published cartoons of him.
In episode 201, Kyle and the boys come to realize what the only “true power” is, as a censored image of Muhammad stands in the background:
On just about any other day,I would’ve had a good laugh at this satire, but Sony’s craven capitulation toterrorism makes it all too real.