Terrorist threats hinder creative freedom of American filmmakers


At the mention of America, the first thing that comes to mind is freedom. This is a country in which citizens are blessed with and protected by civil rights such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of press. However, North Korean terrorists infringed upon these rights when they threatened the United States prior to the release of the film “The Interview”, a political satire mocking Kim Jong-un’s regime and poking fun at assassinating him. The film was scheduled to enter theaters on Christmas Day but was pulled due to threats to the production company. Sony instead opted to offer the movie online, although a few theaters chose to release the film as planned. But Sony should not have given in to North Korea’s demands and should have gone ahead with the release of the film. Backing down due to threats is wrong; America has never negotiated with terrorists, and they should not start now.

The Interview is not Hollywood’s first attempt at this type of political satire. Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” imitated Hitler, Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove” poked fun at the Cold War, Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” ridiculed Nazis and Sacha Baron Cohen’s “The Dictator” mocked Gaddafi. All of these films received scrutiny, but none were canceled. Due to the controversy over The Interview, a New Regency film entitled “Pyongyang” about a man’s experience working in North Korea has been canceled. The U.S. has therefore sacrificed its artistic freedom. On the bright side, an upcoming film from the director of “The Dictator,” entitled “Army of One”, will focus on a man who singlehandedly tries to find Osama bin Laden.

“The Interview should have had a nationwide release considering, as Americans, we’re allowed to distribute whatever product of film we truly want,” said senior Wesley Zimmerman. “Under the film industry, no country’s ruler should be so offended by a raunchy comedy joke that’s performed by two people playing idiots…it really shows how sensitive this world is.”

Not only did Kim Jong-un and North Korea threaten America, but personal information of Sony employees was also hacked and released. The United States is allowing this blatant attack on personal privacy and freedom to have an impact on future films. Creative expression and freedom of speech are two of America’s greatest liberties, and America allowed itself to be censored by another country. Entertainment companies should not have to consider the feelings of a foreign dictator when creating art.

The Sony hack and threats against America’s creative rights are just some of the current events that have attempted to infringe upon the freedom of democratic countries. A recent terrorist attack in France on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo occurred after the magazine released political cartoons of Muhammad. The shooter killed 12 people. However, unlike Sony, the magazine has refused to back down. They will not sacrifice their freedom of speech and press, and other artists should not have to either. Hundreds of rallies subsequently ensued around the world in protest and solidarity against infringement of personal rights. This is how Sony and America should have responded to North Korea. By giving in to their demands, America also traded in its power and creative freedom.