NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oscar winner George Clooney slammed Hollywood power players for not supporting Sony Pictures following the cyber attack on the company over the satirical comedy “The Interview” about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Sony on Wednesday pulled the Christmas Day release of the film depicting a fictional assassination of Kim after major theater chains said they would not show it due to unspecified threats made by the hackers.
Clooney, in an interview Friday with online trade publication Deadline.com, said no one would sign a petition he and his agent circulated to top Hollywood figures supporting the film’s release.
The actor-director, whose past two directorial efforts were Sony releases, also criticized the media for failing to link the cyber attack to North Korea. The United States on Friday blamed the country for the devastating cyber attack, calling it an unacceptable act of intimidation and vowing to impose “costs and consequences” on those responsible.
“We’re talking about an actual country deciding what content we’re going to have. This affects every part of business that we have,” Clooney said. “We cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong Un.”
In the cyber attack on Sony and its employees, hackers released a stream of embarrassing emails and demanded that the film’s release be scrapped.
“We have a responsibility to stand up against this. That’s not just Sony, but all of us, including my good friends in the press who have the responsibility to be asking themselves: What was important? What was the important story to be covering?” Clooney added.
The news media’s early coverage of the hack largely focused on the content of leaked emails between Sony employees and film producers.`
Clooney, who won Oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the film “Syriana” in 2005 and Best Picture for “Argo” in 2012, said he is concerned about content in films and that it will now be judged differently.
“The movies we make are the ones with challenging content, and I don’t want to see it all just be superhero movies. Nothing wrong with them, but it’s nice for people to have other films out there,” he added.
Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Jonathan Oatis