As the cyber attack on Sony Pictures revealed a cache of stolen emails, including bits of news and gossip, both Aaron Sorkin and Judd Apatow were among the most critical toward the way members of the press covered the story.
"As a screenwriter in Hollywood who's only two generations removed from probably being blacklisted, I'm not crazy about Americans calling other Americans un-American, so let's just say that every news outlet that did the bidding of the Guardians of Peace [the group claiming responsibility for the hack] is morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable," Sorkin wrote in a New York Times op-ed.
Apatow compared writing stories gleaned from the emails to publishing stolen nude photographs of Jennifer Lawrence.
Releasing private Sony e mails to hurt people is the same as releasing nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence. Why are they ok to print?
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) December 11, 2014
On Wednesday, after Sony Pictures pulled release of "The Interview" from theaters (a decision made after the biggest theater chains in the country decided against screening the film following a terror threat), both Sorkin and Apatow weighed in on the precedent set by the move.
"I think every business has the right to do whatever they want, but when -- en masse -- all of these businesses decide not to present a movie, they’re basically setting themselves up for other people to threaten them," Apatow told Los Angeles Times reporter Amy Kaufman. "What do they do when someone says the same thing about the James Bond movie or 'Annie'? There may be credible evidence of imminent violence that I don't know about. But if they don’t really have that information, how many movies are they willing not to release? Our community is based on freedom of expression. Are we going to suppress ourselves every time someone posts something online? It's a dark future."
In a statement released to Deadline.com, Sorkin said the threats made by the hackers were an attack on "our most cherished, bedrock principle of free speech." He also placed some blame for the final outcome at the feet of the media:
The wishes of the terrorists were fulfilled in part by easily distracted members of the American press who chose gossip and schadenfreude-fueled reporting over a story with immeasurable consequences for the public -- a story that was developing right in front of their eyes.
Sorkin and Apatow are part of a list of celebrities who have spoken out about "The Interview" being pulled from theaters, including Zach Braff, Rob Lowe and Mia Farrow. Steve Carell, whose untitled North Korea comedy-thriller was canceled in the wake of release plans for "The Interview" being scrapped, added his thoughts on Twitter:
Sad day for creative expression. #feareatsthesoul
— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) December 17, 2014