It’s not very often that I find myself in agreement with Seth Rogen, but leaked Sony emails reveal that even a comedian who often spews leftist talking points understands the importance of free speech — when his own is threatened.
As Seth Rogen’s and James Franco’s “The Interview” was filming, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai took issue with a scene that depicts the death of North Korea’s gulag overseer, Kim Jong-un. He stepped in to make sure that the feelings of a dictator weren’t hurt too much. Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, then had to figure out a way to deliver the news to writer and co-director Mr. Rogen.
Reuters reported Dec. 10:
In an exchange with Rogen, Pascal said she was in a difficult position because Hirai had asked her to make changes in the film.
“And this isn’t some flunky. It’s the chairman of the entire Sony Corporation who I am dealing (with),” she said.
Rogen responded by promising to remove three of four burn marks on Kim’s face, and reduce the “flaming hair” by 50 percent. But he said he could not meet all the demands. …
Rogen initially told Pascal he objected to requests to modify the death scene, which he said would be viewed as censorship and hurt sales.
“This is now a story of Americans changing their movie to make North Koreans happy,” he said in an Aug. 15 email. “That is a very damning story.”
In the end, enough edits were apparently made to satisfy Mr. Hirai, but at what cost?
This blog has covered Hollywood’s willingness to appease Chinese censorship boards if it will bring in a few million dollars more, and now it’s confirmed that similar measures were made out of the fear of what a North Korean dictator might do when he is openly mocked.
There is no doubt that Sony will lose millions of dollars as a result of its recent hacking. There is also no doubt that it is also quite embarrassing when wealthy Jewish liberals are exposed saying things about the first black president that would get a conservative kicked out of the industry in a second.
Buzzfeed reported Dec. 10:
In what has become the latest embarrassing email uncovered in a trove of messages leaked by hackers who attacked Sony, Pascal wrote Rudin: “What should I ask the president at this stupid Jeffrey breakfast?” She was referring to a breakfast hosted by DreamWorks Animation head and major Democratic donor Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Rudin, a top film producer responsible for films like No Country for Old Men and Moneyball, responded, “Would he like to finance some movies.” Pascal replied, “I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” Rudin responded: “12 YEARS.” Pascal quickly continued down the path of guessing Obama preferred movies by or starring African Americans. “Or the butler. Or think like a man? [sic]”
Rudin’s response: “Ride-along. I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”
Hopefully, future liberal Hollywood power players will understand that free speech is much more important than their reputations. Yes, there is a risk when taking on powerful regimes that it will result in your personal emails being shared with the world — your very racial, very liberal emails — but that is a risk worth taking.
Seth Rogen is a liberal guy, but it’s refreshing to see that even he understands how bizarre it is to curb creative endeavors because ruthless dictators might throw digital temper tantrums. When Hollywood censors itself because anyone with some top-notch hackers behind them might retaliate, then it is a sad day for freedom of speech.