Conspiracy Theory: The Interview
Sony Pictures has cancelled the Christmas release of a film at the centre of a hacking scandal after terrorist threats to cinemagoers and a decision by major movie theatre groups to cancel screenings in the US.
A group calling itself Guardians of Peace (GOP) published an online message on Tuesday warning cinemagoers to stay away from screenings of The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, which depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The threats led five of biggest cinema chains in the US to drop the film. A federal investigation is also under way.
The Guardian 18 December 2014 : Sony Pictures cancels Christmas release of The Interview.
Now what would the conspiracy theorists make of this?
It is said that the North Koreans are incensed by this film. Now most North Koreans won’t know about it, so we are talking about the ruling elite of that country.
They have a distinctly different view of the world to the rest of us, therefore we have to accept that they may have taken umbrage and that they may want to retaliate. They are certainly good at huffing and puffing.
Other countries have got used to Hollywood playing fast and loose with the sensitivities of whole countries. Britons are often portrayed as baddies and “history” is “adjusted” to suit stories. Numerous examples exist of World War Two stories being adjusted so that the Americans take a greater role – the claim is that this is “necessary” to ensure good box-office figures in the major market – which is of course the US of A.
In the UK we have learnt to shrug off such slights – but worry that such American-made films may come to be seen as “historical sources”.
If we did not shrug off such slights would we threaten diplomatic retaliation or even attacks on cinemas?
Actually would the North Koreans – or are we just swallowing suggestions made in the US media?
Sony’s decision comes amid new reports that the US has determined North Korea was directly responsible for the hack, a claim the regime has previously denied.
Anonymous administration officials briefed a number of media outlets on that conclusion – but at the same time said the White House was debating whether to publicly accuse North Korea, according to the New York Times. The officials who have spoken to reporters have thus far provided no evidence for the claim.
The comments mark a major change in direction for the federal investigation into the hack, which could have severe diplomatic ramifications. Last week a senior FBI cyber security official said the agency had been unable to confirm links between Pyongyang and the hackers.
The North Korean elite can feel annoyed about being ridiculed, but given that they control the media within that isolated country, “their people” will not know about it. So if not the North Koreans, who has been hacking Sony and making threats?
Who are the real masters of hacking? What other party in The Interview ends up looking ridiculous and unconstitutional? Is it then useful to anyone to divert attention by making one of the US of A’s favourite bogey men seem to be responsible for the hacking and threats and consequent withdrawal of the film?
“North Korea threatens free speech and artistic freedom” is a far better story than a reminder that parts of the American state are capable of acting unconstitutionally or disreputably.