Sony pulls ‘The Interview’ after 9/11 terror threat

The Interview

The InterviewSony Pictures is close to monopolizing security news with post-cyber-attack ripples.

Those ripples now include getting sued by ex-employees over privacy violations, being threatened with a terrorist attack similar to 9/11, having its film The Interview pulled from several cinemas as a result, and the subsequent announcement that Sony has cancelled the theatrical release altogether.

On the breathe-one-small-sigh-of-relief side of the ledger, it’s received compliance with a DCMA takedown request from Reddit, which has banned users from sharing documents pilfered from the movie studio.

On Tuesday, those purportedly behind the hack threatened a terrorist attack on theaters and movie goers who attend screenings of The Interview.

The GOP had previously promised to deliver a “Christmas gift,” which originally sounded like another batch of leaked data.

But in Tuesday’s message, which Mashable reports was sent to itself and several other news outlets, along with new batch of Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton’s hacked emails, warned people to stay away from the movie, specifically mentioning the 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon:

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places "The Interview" be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.

Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.

The world will be full of fear.

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.)

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official who requested anonymity told Fortune that the DHS isn’t aware of any active plot against movie theaters in connection with the attack against Sony.

From his or her statement:

We are still analyzing the credibility of these statements, but at this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States. ... As always, DHS will continue to adjust our security posture, as appropriate, to protect the American people.

At least one New York theater canceled the premiere of the film, which is a Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy about a plot to kill North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un.

Carmike Cinemas, a movie theater chain that’s based in Columbus, Georgia, and which has theaters in 41 states, also chose not to show The Interview, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In addition, the two stars canceled all of their upcoming press events, according to BuzzFeed, which was hosting an event with the two.

Sony announced yesterday that it wouldn’t be releasing The Interview on Christmas Day as planned:

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. We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.

Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale — all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. 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. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.

In other fallout, two of the movie studio’s ex-employees have sued the company for failing to protect their private information.

They’d like to turn it into a class action lawsuit of up to 15,000 former employees.

The plaintiffs haven’t been specific about the amount of money they’re seeking, but according to Money CNN, they want Sony to provide five years of credit monitoring, bank monitoring, identity theft insurance and credit restoration service. They’re also seeking for Sony to be subject to regular privacy audits.

Finally, a ray of hope that somebody on the internet is going to take down Sony’s doxed materials.

As it is, Sony on Monday warned the media not to publish the details of anything that was stolen in last month’s breach.

By Wednesday, Reddit had acceded to a DMCA takedown request from Sony.

Reddit removed a hub for sharing the company’s hacked files, deleted posts, blocked individual user accounts, and banned a subreddit devoted to sharing the files.

However, as Reddit told Business Insider, “discussions and news stories” about the attack were unaffected by the bans – similar to how Reddit recently banned stolen celebrity nude photos but allowed discussion about the thefts.