White House, Hollywood respond to ‘Interview’ controversy – Part 1

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    For weeks, Sony Pictures was reluctant to pull its movie "The Interview" from theaters. But, yesterday, it did so after new threats. A day later, that decision is taking heavy criticism on multiple fronts.

    Here's Jeffrey Brown with more.

  • SETH ROGEN, Actor:

    You want us to kill the leader of North Korea?




    For now at least, and maybe forever, the trailer is all that Americans will see of "The Interview."

    The comedy depicts a CIA plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It had been set to open nationwide on Christmas Day. Now Sony Pictures has pulled the release after a group that hacked the company's computers threatened theaters, and they, in turn, began canceling plans to screen it.

    In a statement, Sony said it was — quote — "deeply saddened" by the effort to suppress the movie's distribution. Would-be moviegoers had mixed feelings on the decision today.

  • MAN:

    I just think that right now people really don't want controversy. It's not good for business, and so they pulled it.

  • MAN:

    I think they should have went forward with it. I mean, people shouldn't get too sensitive. It's entertainment.


    In Hollywood, the Sony move sparked a drumbeat of angry tweets from celebrities Ben Stiller, Steve Carell, Mia Farrow, and Rob Lowe.

    Suspicions about the origin of the hack on Sony continue to center on North Korea. But, today, White House spokesman Josh Earnest stopped short of a public confirmation by U.S. intelligence.

  • JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:

    This is something that's being treated as a serious national security matter. There is evidence to indicate that we have seen destructive activity with malicious intent that was initiated by a sophisticated actor.


    Earnest said U.S. officials are considering a proportionate response.

    Republicans weighed in with their own criticism, as Senator John McCain charged the administration has failed to address the use of cyber-weapons by America's enemies. North Korea has denied taking part in the hacking, but has said it was a — quote — "just punishment" for Sony.

  • One postscript:

    After "The Interview" was pulled, some theaters planned to play another North Korean-related comedy, Paramount's 2004 film "Team America," in its place. But, today, the studio canceled that, too.

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