Jamie Neish: Hollywood hit hard by Sony attack

James Franco and Seth Rogen. Picture: Reuters
James Franco and Seth Rogen. Picture: Reuters
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IT’S been four weeks since Sony Pictures Entertainment became the victims of a devastating hack.

In those weeks sensitive data such as e-mails, salaries and other personal details of some 6000 current and former employees have been published online.

Many of the e-mails included unreleased details about upcoming Sony Pictures films, budget and confidential contracts, as well as harsh words about certain actors shared between high-up executives.

Then came the speculation that North Korea was behind the hack. Though as yet officially unconfirmed, many including the FBI, believe the country to be responsible.

And what’s believed to be behind it all, a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, pictured, called The Interview.

Directed by Rogen and Evan Goldberg (the duo behind This is the End), the film centres on two journalists who are instructed by the CIA to assasinate leader Kim Jong-un during an interview with him.

Ever since plot details first emerged, the film has been the subject of threats, which convinced Sony to delay its originally scheduled release in October to a new slot on Christmas Day.

Then, when two weeks after the initial hack took place, the infiltrators – who refer to themselves as the Guardians of the Peace – threatened to attack any cinema screening the film, Sony balked and cancelled the release altogether.

It’s difficult to say whether or not they made the right decision. Of course, any threat needs to be taken seriously, but by cancelling the film Sony have, in many ways, surrendered their own free speech.

Even US President Barack Obama believes Sony has made a mistake. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the days and weeks to come, and whether or not The Interview is released another way.

But what’s known is that this is the worst attack Hollywood has seen in decades, and it’ll take a long time to recover from it.