Seth Rogen James Franco The InterviewIt’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.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

8 comments

  1. Liberals care about freedoms when they impact their lives. How many liberal actors would be fine without armed guards? If a rule eliminated their bodyguards because they say we don’t need protection, how long before they are on twitter complaining?

    1. True, the Second Amendment debate does get rather humorous when you’re dealing with strict gun control advocates who have the resources to hire armed guards (e.g., Michael Bloomberg) 😉

  2. They want laws for “you and I” but if the law impacts them it is not fair. They seem to be the same way with freedom of speech. Look at how they cry about freedom of speech yet they try to silence anyone with a different view.

  3. It kind of creeps me out that Sony HQ’s influence is so far-reaching. The film studio is one thing, but they’ve also got a computer business, a smartphone business, a music business, a television business, a video game business…

    Fox isn’t much better, but at least they [i]created[/i] their movie empire. Sony bought theirs!

    1. It kind of creeps me out that Sony HQ’s influence is so far-reaching.

      Any time creative works are censored to placate Communist thugs and dictatorial regimes, it’s a clear indicator that a company is going down the wrong path. Think of how many American movies were scrapped are drastically altered over the concerns of Chinese censorship boards. **shudder** Even Marvel a few years ago changing
      “Captain American” into “The First Avenger” for certain audiences annoyed me.

  4. As an aside, these marketing PowerPoints are sooo bad. I want to laugh but they’re just pathetic.






    EMMERICH PEDIGREE. SPIDER-MAN ANTIVIRUS. Did you ever know you wanted that, Doug?

  5. And it looks like the folks who wanted to censor the movie have gotten their wish, because Sony has released a statement today saying that, due to the threat that movie theaters would be bombed if The Interview was shown, Sony has canceled the film’s scheduled release date:

    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.

    http://deadline.com/2014/12/sony-scraps-the-interview-1201328639/

    So Sony claims to stands by their film, its creators, and freedom of speech…by caving into political pressure and correctness. Sure, if they released the film as planned, the spin would’ve been “corporate greed over the safety of the film-going public.” Except now, Sony comes off looking cowardly and not standing behind their actors, directors, or producers.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Mike. I’m at work right now and I’m … shell shocked. I don’t mean to sound melodramatic, but this is really bad. It’s scary. I can’t believe this happened and I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. There is a huge reason why free speech is covered in the First Amendment — it’s “a biggie.” I don’t even know what to say. I’m going to try and write something before I go to bed tonight, or possibly very early tomorrow morning.

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