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In Solidarity with Sony

Written By: - Date published: 4:37 pm, December 20th, 2014 - 98 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, censorship, International, Media - Tags:

Because freedom of speech and expression is something to be protected and censorship is ultimately futile …

98 comments on “In Solidarity with Sony”

  1. batweka 1

    I’m confused, who are the baddies here?

    • mickysavage 1.1

      North Korea although I wish Sony had not have caved!

      • b waghorn 1.1.1

        Obama’s upped the anti now threatening pay back of an unspecified type

        • Weepus beard

          You’re kidding.

          For an email hack on a private company?

          First world problems, eh?

          • b waghorn

            6 years ago I truly believed Obama would change the world for the better. . sigh!

            • Weepus beard

              He’s not been good.

              A terrible orator. Sounds like he’s reading advertising copy when he speaks.

              As for not being able to reform health and reign in US global hegemony, well there’s a lot of racist rednecks to appease over there and he’s up against it.

              • b waghorn

                I don’t fully understand there political system but it seems bonkers for the people of America to elect Obama and then cripple him by giving his opponent s the power.

                • Weepus beard

                  I don’t understand their political system either. Who would want to apart from Leighton Smith?

                • Lanthanide

                  “but it seems bonkers for the people of America to elect Obama and then cripple him by giving his opponent s the power.”

                  Don’t you think left-wingers in NZ would vote in a counter-balance to National if they could?

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  I don’t fully understand there political system but it seems bonkers for the people of America to elect Obama and then cripple him by giving his opponent s the power.

                  I think the American people intuitively get that both major parties act to the detriment of most Americans, and primarily for the benefit of major banks and corporations.

                  So introducing maximum gridlock into the political system to slow down the rate at which damage can be done to the people, is actually a pretty sensible strategy.

                  BTW Obama has been a worse destroyer of civil rights and abrogator of international law than GW.

                • b waghorn

                  the left wingers would have to convince enough people who voted for the right to change sides wouldn’t they

      • Weepus beard 1.1.2

        In the same way you must have been unhappy when TVNZ sacked Paul Henry.

      • batweka 1.1.3

        ok, so we’re taking the US govt’s word that NK are responsible for the hack/threat, and that the threat was credible?

  2. Weepus beard 2

    Larry Williams had a benighted crack at this the other day. The thrust of his argument was to equate the evil NK hack of Sony with the equally evil and militant left wing hack of Slater’s emails as if some angelic innocent victim had been wronged.

    The fact is, today, if you practice pure hate-speech (Slater), or international satire (Sony’s film and the Jyllands-Posten cartoons of a few years ago), you had better watch out for some backlash.

    BTW, free speech is not allowed in China yet we all bow with appalling hypocrisy before their economic might.

  3. Agree with notice and features. A bit like the modern day equivalent of the BBC banning God save the queen.

    Question have to be asked of N Korea’s true motive. It’s not like they’re going to let their people see the film, and many think of kim lil dong as a loony dictator anyway, so why the hacktivism?

  4. joe90 4

    I’m feeling the love for the American subsidiary of a Japanese multinational.

  5. joe90 5

    In other news: Empire threatens Alderann-like massacre if new Star Wars released.


  6. Bill 6

    The North Korean complaint to the UN on July 10 ran To allow the production and distribution of such a film on the assassination of an incumbent head of a sovereign state should be regarded as the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism..


    Some may think that reasonable and some may scoff at it.

    But what if it was Barack Obama being assassinated in a movie slated for widespread commercial release? What would he (B.O.)and the US admin be saying then? Or what would those who would scoff at the N.Korean UN complaint say then?

    Or what if there was a video game slated for general release where the idea was to assassinate Barack Obama? Still freedom of speech? Or is that inciting violence and possibly terrorism?

    Bringing it closer to home and down many, many levels, when I used the throwaway phrase here the other day, that someone ‘needed a bullet’, which obviously didn’t mean that anyone ought to be actually shot, that part of the comment was edited out.

    Anyway. I reckons… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYSnZRDe7h4

    • The Al1en 6.1

      Like day of the Jackal? Did it get De Gaulle all stroppy back in 1973? Well not him, since he was dead already, but the French government at the time.

      “what if it was Barack Obama being assassinated in a movie slated for widespread commercial release? ”
      “Or what would those who would scoff at the N.Korean UN complaint say then?”

      Exactly the same over here as about this one, though lil dong probably wouldn’t figure in it.

      • batweka 6.1.1

        A drama film made in 1972 about a planned assassination of a president who is already dead in RL, and made by a country that’s an ally, it’s not quite the same is it.

      • Bill 6.1.2

        Like day of the Jackal?

        No. Not like ‘Day of the Jackal’, that took actual events and then offered up a fictionalised post assassination plot. Also, as you point out, De Gaulle was already dead by the time of the book publication and the subsequent film adaptation.

        Day of the Jackal corresponds more with historical portrayals of attempts on the life of Hitler or other already dead people.

        Just absently wondering how many people have had comments alluding to assassination from facebook used against them by so-called anti-terror agencies, and yet here we have a Hollywood studio doing it on steroids. Actually, wasn’t somebody grilled in court and labelled as some sort of terrorist or danger to society for saying something along the lines of how they wanted to drop a bus on John Key?

        • batweka

          not to mention the people in the Tuhoe raids who allegedly said they wanted to kill Helen Clark and the police took that seriously.

          • b waghorn

            tama iti was runnning around the bush with guns that was enough reason to go get him and see what he was upto.

            • batweka

              His name is Tame, and no I don’t think running round in the bush with guns was reason for the terrorism charges. Besides, afaik he’s not the person who was caught on surveillance joking about killing Helen Clark.

              • b waghorn

                While i don’t see Tame as a threat it’s something that needed nipping in the bud , btw the i am in no way condoning the insane level of the cops behavior.
                I had a little batch in tuai at the time and my neighbour got turned over .!

                • batweka

                  People joking about killing the PM needs nipping in the bud? Really?

                  If the cops wanted to look at the firearms issue they could have asked to see Iti and co’s licence. Everything else was bullshit.

                  • b waghorn

                    No playing out gun fantasies in bush needs nipping in the bud and as i said the cops went over the top .

                  • b waghorn

                    the rolling round on car bonnets footage

                    • greywarshark

                      What I’d like nipped in the bud is the exciting spotlighting at night close to public or private areas where they it is actually banned. A real life killing took place a few years ago as someone cleaned her teeth outside a hut. That’s manslaughter and egregious because the shooter should not have been operating in that area.

                      Then the killing of animals on farms in meat hunting or rustling operations, the perps probably have firearms. A not-accident waiting to happen. Tuhoe running round their own areas with guns is hardly a notable event. As far as the Tuhoe raid goes, I think the operatives had been told to look closely for a suitable place for a raid and they could hang one on Tuhoe. A practice run. To fit in with other maneouvres of an international forces nature in Timaru. So there would be a state of readiness by all forces if anything did happen I suppose. The scenario set up for the Timaru get-together was interesting.
                      And gave an idea of what could occur.

                    • tracey

                      wasnt that rickard, former police officer?

        • The Al1en

          So not like the day of the jackal, fair enough.

          What about ‘Johnny English’ with it’s plot to steal the crown jewels and replace/kill the Queen? That’s got to be the same hasn’t it?

          Edit: Actually don’t think it is about a plot to assassinate E2R, but usurp.

          • The Al1en

            But this should qualify and upset no one on here.


            “Death of a President is a 2006 British high concept mockumentary political thriller film about the fictional assassination of George W. Bush, the 43rd U.S. President, on 19 October 2007 in Chicago, Illinois.”

            I think we can call this one busted.

            • batweka

              who made it?

              • The Al1en

                Google is your friend, but

                Directed by Gabriel Range
                Produced by Gabriel Range Simon Finch Ed Guiney Robin Gutch
                Written by Gabriel Range Simon Finch
                Starring Hend Ayoub Brian Boland Becky Ann Baker
                Music by Richard Harvey
                Cinematography Graham Smith
                Edited by Brand Thumim
                Production company FilmFour Borough Films
                Distributed by Optimum Releasing (UK) Newmarket Films (U.S.)
                Release dates 10 September 2006 (Toronto Film Festival)
                9 October 2006 (UK TV)
                27 October 2006 (U.S.)
                Running time 93 minutes
                Country United Kingdom
                Language English, Arabic
                Budget $2,000,000[1]
                Box office $869,352[2]

                • batweka

                  google likes to pretend it’s my friend but it’s really not.

                  So, a film made by the US and its allies about killing its own president. Still not the same is it.

                  • The Al1en

                    Film about the assassination of a sitting leader is apparently the issue. This production nails that.

                    • batweka

                      You think if the film was about assassinating Obama that the US govt would have hacked Sony*? Who made the film, and which country the president is in is entirely pertinent.

                      *ok, yeah, bad example, but I’m sure you get the point about the difference between allies and non-allies.

                    • The Al1en

                      I don’t know, maybe. They probably would have definitely released a statement exclaiming poor taste, though I’d imagine tea party members would be the first to express their dissatisfaction if the film was going to be prohibited from screening.

          • Bill

            How’s about a film was made in Pakistan that was a piss take on some Pakistani journos assassinating Narendra Modi?

            More to the point, what about the rank hypocrisy of people in power, who seek to slam their own citizens in jail for no more than making jokes on facebook, getting all high and mighty when an official enemy takes umbrage at a popular film that seeks to take the piss out of the assassination of their head of state?

            • The Al1en

              I don’t care about that or Rogen’s film, it’s others than are getting pissy and wanting to censor film content.
              Should the N Korean’s react the way they did, sure, if it bothers them that much, though I don’t believe artists should have topics that are off limits, even if some find those limits offensive.

              • batweka

                who exactly want’s the censor film content? Apart from Sony.

                • The Al1en

                  Everyone who says that the film’s plot is a reason for the film not being distributed or even being made in the first instance. That’s censorship.
                  And sony says it wants to release but theatres are backing out because of the threats of retribution.

                  • batweka

                    “Everyone who says that the film’s plot is reason for the film not being distributed.”

                    That doesn’t make sense. That’s people observing what is happening. You seem to think that there are people who are pissy about the film and want it censored. Apart from the hackers and Sony, who would that be exactly?

                    • The Al1en

                      Yes it does. Makes perfect sense.

                    • batweka

                      That’s people observing what is happening. You seem to think that there are people who are pissy about the film and want it censored. Apart from the hackers and Sony, who would that be exactly?

                    • The Al1en

                      Nope. I’m observing what’s happening and yet I’m not guilty of backing censorship, because even though I see the same reports, I don’t agree with it [censorship].
                      Those who say ‘the film should never have been made’ or ‘the film should not get a release’, because of it’s plot line, are agreeing with the N Korean narrative, and reinforcing censorship as it’s their intention to block it’s release.

                    • batweka

                      Yes, but I’m still not clear who you are hearing say that?

                    • The Al1en

                      You weka, it’s you. I’m hearing you say it 🙄

                      But there are a couple at the bottom of this page that agree with censorship based on the content of this film which validates my position.

                      And you weka, it’s you 🙄


                    • batweka

                      and yet I made a comment below* that I’m not suggesting censorship of the film.

                      Maybe you are using the term censorship differently than me, I mean that someone in a position of power prevents the film from being shown (Sony, the US govt). Sony censored the film. I don’t have an opinion about that really because I don’t know how credible the threat was.

                      * eg where I say specifically “This isn’t an argument for censorship,”

                    • The Al1en

                      “Maybe you are using the term censorship differently than me,”

                      Yeah, I’m sure that must be it.

                      Sony haven’t censored the film at all. The film isn’t being shown because theatres are scared to play it because of threats of retribution. If that isn’t censorship by intimidation then you’ll have to google to try and find a better definition of it.


                      ^ That’s me drawing a line under it. If we’re at a place where we can’t even agree on what constitutes censorship, then I’d rather be playing with the xmas present I bought myself today than going any further with this little game.

                      :halo: 🙂

                    • batweka

                      I don’t know why Sony withdrew the film. But let’s say for the sake of argument the threat was credible, then I agree they were coerced into censorship (as you have just said).

                      I still haven’t said I think the film should be censored for other reasons though, and you are misreading my comment below if that’s what you think I meant. Asking for clarification always seems to work better than making assumptions. And if you had pointed to me the first time I asked, then we might have gotten somewhere more interesting. Just saying.

              • Bill

                So okay, can we move on from the tittle tattle and on to the double standards at play by ‘our’ leaders in all of this?

                They sanction the cops to bash down the doors of kids for not much else than jokes written on facebook. Our media report on some of it with (laughably) a straight face, as though there is something to be answered for.

                And now we have them doing a 180 turn and wanking on about freedom of expression.

                The issue isn’t the film, or what is in the film, or why Sony have withdrawn distribution, or whatever threats might have been issued by whomever. The issue is that ‘our leaders’ lead far too much of public opinion by the nose and no-one ever questions the fucking glaring inconsistencies in their attitudes. But hey…

  7. xanthe 7

    cmon we all know it was kim

  8. Macro 8

    I’m with bill on this. IMHO the film was crap and offensive and could well be taken as an inducement to assassination by misguided individuals, and there are plenty of them about these days, as the US well knows to it continual cost.
    We live in the “age of stupid” and this film is the epitome of it. So I have no problems with it being canned. Good riddance. Freedom of speech also brings with it responsibilities about what we say, and how we say it.

    • b waghorn 8.1

      Can i ad that to my knowledge none of the other movies mentioned here plotted to kill a president while he was still in office.

      • Macro 8.1.1

        One would have thought that the US in particular would have been more sensitive to this issue. It wasn’t until relatively recently that if you were a President elected to office in a year divisible by 20 your chance of dying in office either by assassination or natural causes was 100%.

      • nadis 8.1.2

        Death of a President released in 2006, about GW Bush (PResident to 2008).

        When released (and shown in the US) the White House declined to comment on it.

    • batweka 8.2

      I also can’t help thinking about the plethora of films from Hollywood studios that consistently misportray countries and cultures outside the US, esp films that are political in nature, and where those misportrayals reinforce US prejudices about the rest of the world, or actively promote US hegemony. And do this in a world where the US’s foreign policy has been fucking with the international stage for its own political, cultural and financial ends.

      We can argue the freedom of speech thing but eventually we get to a point where we have to acknowledge that Hollywood influences culture domestically and globally, and in that influence it is perpetuating cultural imperialism. This isn’t an argument for censorship, but I can understand why eventually some people are going to get sick of it and take things too far. In the west we might argue that it’s just entertainment, but not everyone has the same cultural values. If the US and the west want globalisation then they need to understand they don’t get to control everything and as you say Macro, there are responsibilities that go with the freedom.

    • Rodel 8.3

      Macro I agree.Sony and the US belief they have a right to this kind of so called ‘free speech ‘ is in my view an illustration of an amoral and arrogant attitude present in some sections of American culture.

      To paraphrase Pam Corkery some years ago,”that’s why we love you uncle Sam.”

  9. Weepus beard 9

    Well said Rodel. Free speech is all fine when you control the speech. Not so much otherwise.

  10. Tom Jackson 10

    Making an offensive movie about the leader of a country that has not hesitated in the past to use terrorism to punish its enemies is not a good idea. The North Koreans aren’t going to take it as a joke, and they don’t really have a lot to lose. The North Koreans are also inclined not to make much of a distinction between what US companies do and what the US government does (they might be on to something there). This was a diplomatic disaster.

    Sony Pictures put its employees in harm’s way by making this movie. It was a phenomenally stupid idea.

  11. One Anonymous Bloke 11

    Did Salman Rushdie deserve it too?

    That’s the argument, isn’t it? That saying something that might upset psychotic right wing trash makes their psychotic reaction your fault.

  12. I support freedom of speech like no other but again this might not be what it seems.

    First of all North Korea denies that hacking attack and is in fact offering a joint investigation into where they really came from and secondly it seems to be used to push for massive injunctions against freedom of speech and more monopolizing of cultural expressions with copyright laws.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      I suspect making death threats against cinema goers and screenwriters is exactly what it looks like, no matter the source: someone doesn’t like this free speech, and wants it to stop.

      Unless you’re going to argue that bad people don’t deserve the UDoHR, that is. The character (or otherwise) of the speakers is irrelevant.

      • travellerev 12.1.1

        Oh, I agree with you but you might want to follow the money or Hui Bono. Sony and fellow big amusement industry corps have been wanting to sew up the amusement industry with their copy right laws for a very long time (Kim Dotcom knows all about that) and this is being used to do just that. Thing is if they can blame it on North Korea the sheeple will follow where ever they are led. So who hacked Sony?

  13. No1kiwi 13

    You guys are all assuming this hack was done by the North Koreans.

    How do you know this?

    Because the merican government said so….LOL.

    This is the same guys who said Iraq had WMD…LOL.

    I would not believe a word the US Government said..especially not the FBI, or the CIA.

    The hack was most likely a disgruntled employee…an inside job.

    PS. The Movie is inflammatory, and reckless. Free speech has consequences.

  14. hoom 14

    Nup Fuck Sony. I got no sympathy on this.

    This whole hacks & threats thing screams marketing campaign/propaganda via CIA black-ops or something.

    The idea that NK would have the capability of taking down a big film studio in such an obviously Hollywood way is pretty much ludicrous.

    I mean if there was any indication that the contents was somehow actually important artistically or as commentary on the current state of NK or even USA, then by all means but I’ve seen nothing indicating that to be the case.

    As someone said on RNZ, a movie that was almost guaranteed a cinema flop is now essentially guaranteed a huge DVD/BR release.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      The idea that NK would have the capability of taking down a big film studio in such an obviously Hollywood way is pretty much ludicrous.

      That’s some lovely shiny prejudice you got there. North Koreans can’t code?

      • hoom 14.1.1

        North Korea has a very low number of computers, extremely limited internet (physical infrastructure, state control of content & very likely death for being caught hacking)

        A quick google shows there are under 3,000 IPs assigned to North Korea.

        Its about the least likely place in the world to have bred a bunch of master hackers.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Oh, do they breed? I thought they learn those sorts of skills at Westminster University.

        • batweka

          hoom, do you think the NK government has no IT specialists skilled enough for this?

          • hoom

            Well they are much more likely to be found in countries with largely unrestricted internet access in the millions…

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              That’s where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. Now, I know some of you are going to say, “I did look it up, and that’s not true.” That’s ’cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that’s how our nervous system works.

              Stephen Colbert.

  15. Bill 15

    Just been skim reading across the web on this and am wondering if people are rolling across the floor clutching their sides…somewhere in Beijing.

    What a nice riposte to all the US web based sabotage and snooping it would represent, if indeed, N.Korea’s main sponsor proved to be behind all this malarkey.

    Like I said up thread, it’s not the film or its contents that I see as the issue, but the contortions being undertaken by the US admin as it seeks to gain moral high ground in the presence of a void.

    • batweka 15.1

      The one I’m finding interesting is Obama coming out saying Sony was wrong to pull the movie, and in the next breath saying the internet is the wild west and needs to be controlled more 🙄

      (apparently the US movie industry is about to do another big push to legally remove net neutrality)

  16. Morrissey 16

    “In solidarity with Sony”?!!??!?

    You must have a screw loose. You cannot be serious. Sony, in case you’ve been in a Hobbit Hole for the last two years, is a part of the gang attacking Kim Dotcom….

    The record labels are understood to be Warner Music, UMG Recordings, Sony Music and Capitol Records, while the film companies are 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Brothers.


    • Murray Rawshark 16.1

      Pretty much my thoughts as well. I bet the film isn’t funny either. I’d expect 90 minutes of racist stereotypes.
      I suspect the whole bloody thing is a marketing ploy anyway.

  17. Rolf 17

    You need to ask yourself too i war propaganda, sedition, and defamation is part of free speech, and if not, where is the boundary. Obviously the film has been found seriously insulting to another country and that country’s leader.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1


      Um, yeah, and so is any decent comedian worth their salt. Your point is?

      • RedLogix 17.1.1

        Even comedians know there are some places you shouldn’t go. As more than a few jesters have found just after their head got handed to them.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Cruel despots have also been known to suffer similar fates.

          When they came for the comedians, I spoke out, even though I’m not a comedian 😉

  18. tracey 18

    I am still trying to understand why so many people said hager was exploiting stolen emails but all our major media pounced on the hacked/stolen sony emails to sell their press ads and space.

  19. xanthe 19

    There is really no evdence apart from FBI say so that NKorea sponsored the hack. There are however very good reasons why sony would promote that myth. They are faceing huge civil damages for lax security of employees personal data. Look at the timeline of the hack and releases of info. There was no wiff of geopolitical motive but a strong theme of corporate overreach untill suddenly it was all about some low budget “comedy”. This is damage control (by increasing the damage!)

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1

      So that’s drawing quite a long bow, assuming Sony has that much control over the FBI. You’d have to assume the evidence for said control would be part of the hack, eh.

  20. Draco T Bastard 20

    This guy asks an important question.

    • RedLogix 20.1

      SONY is no longer just a Japanese corporation – it’s a global one and as such operates very much within the US sphere of influence.

  21. Phil 21

    Scott Adams makes some good (and some long-bow) points on this.

    It’s not the Job of Sony to protect the american constitution. It’s also also not their job to put the lives of their employees, and the lives of their clients and associates employees, in unnecessary danger.


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  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
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    3 weeks ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
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    3 weeks ago

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    6 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
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  • Major investment in safe drinking water
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  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
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    1 week ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
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  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
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  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
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    1 week ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
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    1 week ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
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  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
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  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
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  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
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  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
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