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Hollywood slams Sony for cancelling The Interview after hackers' threats

Hollywood slams Sony for cancelling The Interview after hackers' threats
Hackers’ threats of launching a 9/11-style attack on cinemas has led Sony Pictures to cancel its release of The Interview, previously scheduled to open in theaters this Christmas, but some Hollywood stars are far from being on the same page as the studio.

Upon news that Sony has nixed plans to put the motion picture out next week, A-listers have begun lashing out against the movie house and its decision to drop the film over alleged threats.

“Wow. Everyone caved,” actor Rob Lowe tweeted on Wednesday this week, adding that the decision to scrape the comedy about a plot to kill North Korean President Kim Jong Un amounts to “an utter and complete victory” for the supposed state-sponsored hackers who drove Sony to do as much. According to IMDB, Lowe makes an uncredited appearance in the movie.

“I think it is disgraceful that these theaters are not showing The Interview,” added Judd Apatow, a writer and director who has worked previously with the cancelled flick’s producers but is not credited with any involvement with the film. “Will they pull any movie that gets an anonymous threat now?”

Scandal has surrounded Sony Pictures since earlier this month when it first became apparent that hackers had compromised the studio’s computer network and subsequently pilfered a trove of sensitive files, including unreleased movies and internal emails, the likes of which have since been shared online.Threatsconcerning the scheduled release of The Interview surfaced soon after and, before long, the culprits of the compromise were alleged to be acting on behalf of North Korea.

“The world will be full of fear,” hackers purported to be involved in the compromise wrote recently, should The Interview be released as planned. “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”

A New York City Police Department (NYPD) vehicle drives by the Sunshine Cinema in New York December 17, 2014. (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)

READ MORE: ‘The Interview’ premiere canceled in wake of Sony hacker ‘9/11-style’ terror threats

On Thursday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States is expected to officially pin the blame on North Korea, Fox News reported early that day, although the Kim regime has so far refused to acknowledge any role.

Meanwhile, Sony said on Wednesday that it would no longer be releasing The Interview after suspected computers hackers, potentially those involved with the breach, said theaters screening the film would be subject to attacks. Cinema chains first independently announced plans to not show the movie, prompting Sony to pull the picture completely.

“We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public,” Sony said in a statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”

"In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release," Sony said. "We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers."

Lowe, the actor, tweeted that neither he nor The Interview star Seth Roger have ever “heard of anything like this” and evoked Neville Chamberlain, the late British politician who notoriously conceded parts of Czechoslovakia to Adolf Hitler’s Germany in 1938.

“Hollywood has done Neville Chamberlain proud today,” Lowe tweeted.

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel added from his own Twitter feed that Sony’s decision constituted an “un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent.”

“This only guarantees that this movie will be seen by more people on Earth than it would have before. Legally or illegally all will see it,” added Apatow.

According to USA Today, however, such might not be the case: an article published on the website of the newspaper early Thursday indicated that Sony execs plans to shelf The Interview entirely, keeping it not just from theatres, but also any potential digital distribution deals.