Clooney AP1Free speech is taking a beating these days, and the punishment is coming from the one place that should be its staunchest defender: Hollywood. In an exclusive with Deadline Hollywood, George Clooney says he circulated a petition to support Sony Entertainment on the grounds that pulling “The Interview” would, for all intents and purposes, be an abdication of free speech to its enemies. The number or people in Hollywood willing to sign the petition: ZERO.

Here is an excerpt from the petition:

This is not just an attack on Sony. It involves every studio, every network, every business and every individual in this country. That is why we fully support Sony’s decision not to submit to these hackers’ demands. We know that to give in to these criminals now will open the door for any group that would threaten freedom of expression, privacy and personal liberty. We hope these hackers are brought to justice but until they are, we will not stand in fear. We will stand together.

The fact that Mr. Clooney’s friends within the industry refused to sign such a statement is pathetic. Dec. 16, 2014 marked the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, but on that very same day Hollywood studio heads couldn’t even bring themselves to sign a piece a paper in defense of free speech. Ask yourself: Would you want to go to war with anyone from Hollywood? Do you want these people and their friends running the country and shaping the culture? How much damage have they already done?

After discussing his spineless friends (without naming names, of course), Mr. Clooney then goes on to talk about the ramifications of the Sony hacking with Deadline Hollywood’s Mike Flemming Jr.

DEADLINE: What kind of constraints will this put on storytellers that want to shine a critical light on a place like Russia, for instance, with something like a movie about the polonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the KGB officer who left and became an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin?

CLOONEY: What’s going to happen is, you’re going to have trouble finding distribution. In general, when you’re doing films like that, the ones that are critical, those aren’t going to be studio films anyway. Most of the movies that got us in trouble, we started out by raising the money independently. But to distribute, you’ve got to go to a studio, because they’re the ones that distribute movies. The truth is, you’re going to have a much harder time finding distribution now. And that’s a chilling effect.

Mr. Flemming’s hypothetical scenario involving a movie about Alexander Litvinenko is impressive. It shows that he knows how dangerous of a precedent it was for Sony Entertainment to pull “The Interview.” Unfortunately, he and George Clooney appear to be in the vast minority in Hollywood. The erosion of free speech is happening before our eyes — we just can’t see it. You can’t see or hear the movies that were never written out of fear. You can’t hold the DVD of a movie that was never made because cowardly men and women in Hollywood are slaves to the desires of dictators and despots. You can’t smell and taste the popcorn for a blockbuster movie that was killed before pen was ever put to paper.

People laugh because a giant free speech debate has been generated over a Seth Rogen movie, but what happened at Sony is no laughing matter. Regardless, Americans should stand up and applaud George Clooney for shining a light on the character — or lack thereof — of the men and women running Hollywood.

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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.

33 comments

    1. I may do a post in the near future about how Team America’s premise has truly been vindicated. As you may recall, it was filled with Hollywood stars who help Kim Jong Il forward his cause. Some of them were useful idiots (e.g., Matt Damon), and some of them were just ideological loons, but they all were working to aid a dictator realize his goals. Hollywood’s response to The Interview shows that Matt Stone and Trey Parker were correct.

    2. Team America isn’t for everyone. It was definitely rated R for a reason… Regardless, it has some of the best social commentary on Hollywood, dictators, and national defense I’ve ever seen.

    3. how is Obama a socialist president? are you talking about the socialism big bank derivative schemes get when they blow up and the public has to pay thanks to the Citigroup rider?

    4. Look at the auto industry, mortgage industry, the health-care industry to some extent, and, obviously, banking. Granted he is not a pure socialist but he has heavy leanings.
      Or we can look into where he came from and who inspired him and things he has done:
      Barack Obama Sr. (Dad)
      *Communist who saw nothing wrong with government ‘taxing 100%’ so long as the people got benefits…
      Stanley Ann Dunham (Mom)
      *Communist sympathizer
      *Practiced ‘critical theory’ (aka Marxism)
      *Influenced by Nietzsche and Freud
      *Left Hawaii for Indonesia, Pakistan
      *Attended a leftist church nicknamed the ‘little red church’ because of its Communist sympathies
      *Left Barack Obama Jr.
      Mentor
      *Barack’s grandparents introduced Barack Obama Jr. to poet and communist Frank Marshall Davis
      *Davis becomes a mentor as young Barack struggled with abandonment by parents
      College & Church
      *Admittedly sought out ‘Marxist’ professors
      *Admittedly attended ‘socialist conferences’
      *Began attending a Marxist church – led by pastor Jeremiah Wright (attended for 20 years) (
      Career
      *Tragedy of the Warren Court: No redistributive change
      *Voted for TARP
      *$787 billion stimulus redistribution bill
      *Healthcare bill admittedly about ‘redistributing the wealth’
      *President Obama and what he did with GM & Chrysler
      *President Obama seizes control of insurance giant AIG
      *President Obama seized control of Student Loan industry in order to ‘cut out middle man’
      *President Obama seizes control in massive land grabs
      *Repeatedly vilifies ‘the rich’
      *Obama believes race problems can be solved through redistribution of wealth… he said “race is still an enormous factor in our society. But economics can overcome a lot of racial division.”
      *Trying to regulate the Internet via FCC
      *Forces mortgage co’s to cover people who aren’t paying mortgage
      *Extends unemployment benefits to 99 weeks
      Family, Friends, Advisors & Administration
      *Wife Michelle Obama said “The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.”
      *Jim Wallis, Obama’s spiritual advisor & forced redistribution of wealth advocate
      *Van Jones, disgraced Green Jobs Czar & Communist
      *Ron Bloom, Manufacturing Czar & anti-free market
      *John Holdren, pro-redistribution of wealth
      *Andy Stern, SEIU President & redistribution of wealth fan
      *Anita Dunn, fan of Chairman Mao
      *Mark Lloyd, FCC ‘Diversity Czar’
      *Carol Browner, socialist
      *Robert Creamer, socialist

      Next time you want to make a snarky response you may want to get some facts.

    5. your list is hilarious, but I’m glad you included TARP. are the conservatives who believe Wall Street should be bailed out also socialists?

      instead of socialism, you may want to read up on fascism, because it much more accurately describes the corrupt intersection of the private/public sectors that result from terrible legislation, like Obamacare.

    6. Lizard, why are you still commenting here? Don’t you have better things to do, like call me a “nitwit” from afar — all for believing the Sony response to its hacking has serious First Amendment implications? Oh, that’s right, you think Seth Rogen and James Franco actually wrote their screenplay at the behest of the U.S. government. Why? Because they consulted the U.S. government and experts on North Korea about said regime. Classic. Using Lizard19 logic, we need to suspiciously watch every Michael Bay explosion because he regularly consults with the U.S. military on his films. Also, “Battleship” may have been a piece of CIA “propaganda.” Who knew that Rihanna was really a secret American propaganda sex-bomb capable of taking down police states?

      Maybe you should send your blog posts to Chol-hwan Kang and ask him what he thinks. My guess is that he’s too nice to call you a “nitwit,” even if that’s exactly what he’s thinking. My bet is that Shin Dong-hyuk would have the same reaction.

      But seriously, your fascination with me is a bit unhealthy. You now find yourself writing hate-filled screeds about a man who writes about the importance of standing up for free speech. Sad.

    7. It is your problem if you find the list funny, I guess anything that does not support your fiction is an issue with you.
      FYI I am against bailouts in general. I also have plenty of info on fascism. Once again you have no facts to support anything so you resort to silly comments.

    8. Ouija is propaganda created by the secret underworldian government to drum up support for the skeleton war. Candyland fetishizes the monarchy and encourages loyalty to the sucrose-industrial complex.

      HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO STUPID

    9. you must not understand the gravity of the situation. North Korea has destroyed free speech in America. you know, like conservatives did when the Dixie Chicks criticized Bush the war criminal.

    10. Thank goodness we have others to point things like this out to us, I mean who would ever come to the conclusion to compare the impact of North Korea to a conservative group not supporting a country band. Let us not forget that Bush is a war criminal even though he did not break any laws..

    11. In one instance we had people who purchased a Dixie Chicks album who chose to destroy that when the singers bashed their own country overseas. Fair enough. In the other instance we possibly have a nation state using an army of hackers to digitally carpet bomb corporations that operating on U.S. soil. Lizard19’s comment within the context of this discussion is rather bizarre…

    12. “But seriously, your fascination with me is a bit unhealthy. You now find yourself writing hate-filled screeds about a man who writes about the importance of standing up for free speech. Sad.”

      It is creepy, almost stalker-ish in nature.

      “Bush the war criminal.”

      Grow up, Lizard. Seriously.

  1. Clooney has a ways to go before I consider him redeemed, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. I’m sorry he’s having such an eye opening experience about the industry he works in and the politics they advocate for, but that’s a good thing too. Perhaps awareness will spread and more people will start to catch on.

    1. It would be one thing if he could only get a few people to sign on, but he was met with crickets chirping. Nothing. Nada. Zip. A normal human being would look at his political allies, look at their response to such a clear threat to their First Amendment rights, and then say, “Holy cow. Have I been wrong all along?”

      My guess is that Clooney is very much wrestling with such emotions right now, but he’s made a career out of being identified as a liberal guy. Even if this incident causes him to philosophically drift to the right a little bit, I assume he will keep the change close to the vest.

  2. That shows right there the hypocrisy within the industry, actors, directors etc, that were mere days ago tweeting out their “righteous” scorn over the situation…turns out they just wanted a couple of extra followers and a big name tag all over the entertainment sites. Someone actively tries to promote a crusade and they’re all the more docile about it.

    George…you’re a class act, one of the sharper men in what’s becoming a blunt instrument industry

    1. At some point an individual has to decide what they’re willing to stand up for, even if that means taking some pretty painful hits (literally an figuratively). Hollywood talks a good game, but when it came time to actually stand up for free speech when it was threatened, the entire industry folded.

  3. it’s just the way the world works. cops kill with impunity, CIA tortures with impunity, and Americans are so propagandized by Hollywood/corporate media, they go along with all of it all. it’s a sad state of affairs.

  4. If you think Doug is such a “nitwit,” Lizard, why do you keep coming back to comment here? What’s stopping you from going elsewhere, to a blog that’s more suitable for your beliefs?

    1. Slow clap for Sony — they reversed course after millions of Americans called them and the theater chains out for being capitulation clowns. It’s not particularly a win for free speech when Sony had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do the right thing. At least it showed that millions of Americans across the ideological spectrum are still capable of comprehending a threat to our bedrock principles when it essentially slaps them in the face. You, sadly, are one of the few people who were able to turn the Sony hacking into some sort of conspiracy theory involving the U.S. government.

      A conservative guy like me actually finds common ground with liberal men like George Clooney, Sean Penn, and Seth Rogen, and your response is to mock the message. Telling. Everyone is a “nitwit” except Lizard19… Some things never change.

      Here is a list of theaters actually showing The Interview, for those who are willing to drive an hour or two to see it at the few locations it’s actually playing.

    2. “You, sadly, are one of the few people who were able to turn the Sony hacking into some sort of conspiracy theory involving the U.S. government.”

      I think, to Lizard, almost everything is a conspiracy theory involving the U.S. Government. The nonsense about the RAND Corporation and the State Department being “involved” in the screenplay’s creation is one of the most bats*** insane things I’ve ever heard.

      “A conservative guy like me actually finds common ground with liberal men like George Clooney, Sean Penn, and Seth Rogen, and your response is to mock the message.”

      I’m not surprised that Lizard would resort to mocking. Remember, he’s the only one who understands how the world works. Everyone else is a nitwit. He hasn’t changed one iota since he first showed up here two to three years ago.

    3. And that’s too bad it’s just at one theater in Minnesota…. one that’s over fifty to sixty miles away. The last time I drove that far to see a movie was when I went and saw “Shaun of the Dead” in 2004.

  5. I see Lizard still making friends in the comments section 😊.
    Seth Rogen did an extensive radio interview last week and said the basic plot line was written years ago before the present Kim was in power. They had originally debated whether it should be an older “Charlie Rose” type figure who goes over, but decided an entertainment reporter would be funnier. I also thought he said that the assassination scene was actually watered down from the original script.

    To lizard’s point, I’d imagine big studios have a list of consultants they go to depending on the type/setting of the movie; but unless Rogen misrepresented the timeline of the plot’s creation, the movie’s premise was written long before Sony/consultants saw it.

    Anyways, hope you all have a great Christmas!

  6. Merry Christmas.

    Apparently Kim wasn’t even in the first drafts of the movie; the character was your standard cut-and-dry dictator. For some reason it was decided the villains had to be topical.

    That made me think of The Dictator; what if Sacha Baron Cohen had been playing Muammar Gaddafi and not an expy of him? How would Libya have reacted?

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