Actor George Clooney was so worried that Sony would cave to the demands of the hackers who broke into its computer systems, he circulated a letter to other major Hollywood players asking them to stand with Sony in solidarity.
Not a single person signed, Clooney told Deadline.
He speculates that the people in other studios and entertainment businesses were afraid that their own companies would be hacked and embarrassing emails would be leaked, as happened to several Sony executives.
“Nobody wanted to be the first to sign on. Now, this isn’t finger-pointing on that. This is just where we are right now, how scared this industry has been made.”
The people claiming responsibility for the hack demanded that Sony pull “The Interview,” a movie that mocked North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Several reports claim that the U.S. government believes North Korea was behind the hack, but government officials haven’t officially said so yet.
Part of Clooney’s petition read, “we fully support Sony’s decision not to submit to these hackers’ demands.”
But in fact, the industry did give in. Several major movie theatre chains pulled the movie after hackers put out a note warning “Remember the 11th of September 2001.” Then Sony canceled the theatrical release entirely, and is not currently planning to distribute the movie at all.
Clooney doesn’t blame Sony for the decision, but he does think that other movies with controversial themes are now going to have a much harder time getting released. “The truth is, you’re going to have a much harder time finding distribution now. And that’s a chilling effect.”