After things seemed to be cooling down on Saturday in the whole North Korea/Sony Pictures debacle over the release of the comedy “The Interview,” they’ve now taken a turn for the even stranger in the last few hours.
Following the FBI naming North Korea responsible for the attack on Friday, word came via Variety on Saturday morning that the hacker group – the Guardians of Peace – had reportedly sent a new message which essentially taunts the investigative agency.
At the same time, North Korea denied the allegations it was behind the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, and reportedly offered to launch a joint investigation with the U.S. into the hacking attack. At the time, an unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman warned the U.S. would face serious consequences should it reject the proposal.
Yesterday afternoon came word that the Obama administration was seeking China’s help in stopping North Korea from launching future cyber-attacks, but the Chinese have reportedly not responded yet. Almost all of North Korea’s telecommunications use Chinese-operated networks so getting their support is crucial.
New details also emerged yesterday about the movie’s aborted release. It was revealed that a platform release of the film was considered earlier this week with the comedy opening in around twenty cinemas before a wider release. That plan was apparently rejected.
Sony has since also deleted the social media accounts for the film, but have released a statement suggesting only the Christmas Day release is off the cards for now, and the hope is that “anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.”
Sony also scored an unexpected supporter – the Republican National Committee. CNN reports that RNC chairman Reince Priebus has sent a letter to the CEOs of ten major theater chains asking them to show the film.
Meanwhile, Bittorrent’s CCO spoke with Deadline saying they’ve reached out to Sony to offer them circulation of the film on its file-sharing service through BitTorrent Bundle – the alternative digital-distribution option that has been used for several films such as Drafthouse Films’ release of Oscar-nominated doco “The Act Of Killing”.
Earlier this morning The New York Post suggested Sony is currently working on a plan to release the film for free on its Crackle online streaming service.
Things turned nasty a few hours ago though as North Korea’s state news agency KCNA (via The Wrap) posted an inflammatory statement suggesting the U.S. government “conceived and produced” the movie with Sony.
As a result, their “target is all the citadels of the U.S. imperialists who earned the bitterest grudge of all Koreans” and its militarised forces are: “fully ready to stand in confrontation with the U.S. in all war spaces including cyber warfare space to blow up those citadels.” The statement calls the U.S. a “cesspool of terrorism” and states their “toughest counteraction” will include both the White House and the Pentagon.
That statement is attributed to the Policy Department of the National Defense Commission of North Korea.
More as it develops…