Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) is calling on Sony Pictures to screen “The Interview” at the U.S. Capitol as a demonstration of solidarity with the company, support for free speech, and an educational activity for members.
“Threats from a dictator in North Korea should not stop Americans from seeing any movie. We have a responsibility to stand up against these attempts at intimidation,” Sherman, the chairman of the Entertainment Industry Caucus, wrote in a letter Monday to Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton.
Sony Pictures recently cancelled the Christmas release of “The Interview” amid threats and cyber-attacks against the company attributed to North Korea.
“Screening The Interview will demonstrate the U.S. Congress’s support of the freedom of speech,” Sherman wrote in his letter. “This is about our right to live without fear, and knowing that our values will not be compromised by the idle threats of a despotic regime. Good or bad, Americans should not be deprived of the opportunity to see this movie.”
Sherman also advocated more American broadcasting into North Korea.
“It is time to give North Korea a double dose of free speech. Currently Radio Free Asia and Voice of America reach North Koreans eleven hours each night, at a cost to American taxpayers of $8 million annually (or roughly one tenth of what it cost Sony to make and advertise “The Interview”). We should ramp this up to $16 million,” he said in a statement, advocating a 24 hour-a-day stream of broadcasting into the rogue nation.
Late last week, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) also called on the Obama administration to screen “The Interview” at the White House for Members of Congress.
“Given the success of having their demands met, North Korea and other rogue actors are likely to be emboldened,” Vitter wrote in a letter to President Obama Friday. “They will be encouraged to ramp up anti-US internet terrorism, which is viewed as a safer, affordable, and now effective method of making demands. A strong message needs to be delivered to reassure the American people and U.S. businesses that we will not bend to the will of bad actors, whether they are hackers, terrorist, state-sponsors of terrorism, or nation states.”
Vitter noted that recent actions by the Obama administration — such as releasing high value Taliban members from Guantanamo and the last of the so-called “Cuban-Five” spies in exchange for American captives— have also served to embolden America’s enemies.