In an extensive interview with Deadline Hollywood, George Clooney revealed that “a large number of people” in Hollywood refused to sign his simple petition of support for Sony in the wake of the cyber attacks that have crippled the film studio.
“Here’s the brilliant thing they (the hackers) did,” Clooney told Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. “You embarrass them (Sony) first, so that no one gets on your side. After the Obama joke, no one was going to get on the side of Amy (Pascal, Sony co-chairman), and so suddenly, everyone ran for the hills.”
Clooney directed blame for the studio’s crises at the news media, whom he said “abdicated its real duty.”
“They played the fiddle while Rome burned,” Clooney said. “There was a real story going on. With just a little bit of work, you could have found out that it wasn’t just probably North Korea; it was North Korea… This affects not just movies, this affects every part of business that we have.”
“Sony didn’t pull the movie because they were scared,” Clooney continued. “They pulled the movie because all the theaters said they were not going to run it.”
As for his petition, which he reportedly circulated with the help of his agent Bryan Lourd, Clooney told Deadline “it was sent to basically the heads of every place,” but no one wanted anything to do with it.
“All that it is basically saying is, we’re not going to give in to a ransom,” Clooney explained of the petition. “As we watched one group be completely vilified, nobody stood up. Nobody took that stand. Now, I say this is a situation we are going to have to come to terms with, a new paradigm and a new way of handling our business. Because this could happen to an electric company, a car company, a newsroom. It could happen to anybody.”
When asked what the consequences of the cyber attack and Sony’s cancellation of The Interview meant for another of Sony’s projects, a film about outspoken Vladimir Putin critic Alexander Litvinenko, Clooney said it would have a “chilling effect.”
“The truth is, you’re going to have a much harder time finding distribution now,” Clooney said. “And that’s a chilling effect. We should be in the position right now of going on offense with this. I just talked to Amy an hour ago. She wants to put that movie out. What do I do? My partner Grant Heslov and I had the conversation with her this morning. Bryan and I had the conversation with her last night.”
“Stick it online,” Clooney suggested. “Do whatever you can to get this movie out. Not because everybody has to see the movie, but because I’m not going to be told we can’t see the movie. That’s the most important part. We cannot be told [we] can’t see something by Kim Jong-Un, of all f***ing people.”