George R.R. Martin may be finishing the next installment of the “Song of Ice and Fire” series -- hopefully before the “Game of Thrones” television series totally catches up with the story -- but he took the time to criticize Sony Pictures Entertainment for the way it has handled the controversy over “The Interview.”
On Wednesday, Sony canceled the Christmas Day release of the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy after threats of violence from the hackers responsible for a major breach of the studio’s computer systems. The FBI has blamed the hack on North Korea, which is lampooned in the movie. Following the studio's announcement to pull the film, Martin, 66, sounded off on his blog about the decision, offering up his own theater for public screenings of the film.
Martin condemned AMC and other theater chains, as well as Sony itself, for bowing to the hackers.
Martin -- who said the decision by theaters and Sony to halt the release of “The Interview” seemed like something from a “South Park” sketch -- wrote, “The level of corporate cowardice here astonishes me. It's a good thing these guys weren't around when Charlie Chaplin made ‘The Great Dictator.’ If Kim Jong Un scares them, Adolf Hitler would have had them sh------ in their smallclothes.”
Martin then offered up the independent theater he owns in New Mexico to screen the film. “There are thousands of small independent theaters across the country, like my own, that would gladly screen ‘The Interview,’ regardless of the threats from North Korea, but instead of shifting the film to those venues, Sony has canceled its scheduled Christmas rollout entirely.”
The next day Martin posted about his disappointment that some theaters' plans to show 2004’s “Team America: World Police,” which also mocks North Korea, were also foiled.
Martin wrote, “Several of my readers suggested that we follow the lead of the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin and show ‘Team America: World Police’ at the Cocteau, since Sony has wimped out and pulled ‘The Interview.’ It sounded like a great idea, so we took immediate steps to do so, only to learn that Paramount has now decided to withdraw ‘Team America: World Police’ from exhibition. We won't be allowed to show the film, and neither will Alamo, nor any of the other independent venues that wanted to use it to replace ‘The Interview.’”
Martin’s frustrations are echoed by journalists and analysts noting the dangers of caving to the demands of activist hackers, let alone a foreign dictator. The author seems less tolerant of dirty politics in real life than he is in his books. Luckily for fans, Martin is at work on his next novel and “Game of Thrones” Season 5 is set to premiere on HBO in the spring of 2015, with no delays or protests from Westeros hackers.
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