Sony with the Grinch on top.

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by Anna Raccoon on December 19, 2014

Is it really in the ‘public interest’ that we should know that a film producer we had never heard of, thought an actress that we don’t much care for, ‘a minimally talented brat’?

I ask, because for all the talk about hackers ‘revealing sensitive information’ abut celebs we love to read about – you didn’t get to hear of Mr Rudin’s opinion of Ms Jolie from a hacker – but from the media which gorged itself on printing the information that the anonymous hacking group had thoughtfully sent to them.

The emails revealed that:

  • Female film stars including Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence were paid less than their male co-stars.
  • Sony executive Amy Pascal made jokes about black-themed movies that might be among President Obama’s favourites.
  • Angelina Jolie was branded a “minimally talented spoiled brat” in a private email from producer Scott Rudin.
  • George Clooney lost sleep over bad reviews for The Monuments Men and emailed Pascal to say: “I’ve let you all down. Not my intention. I apologise. I’ve just lost touch… Who knew?”

Their defence against a charge of invading data privacy by publishing this stolen data is likely to be that it was ‘in the public interest’ – not that you should just know that a theft of data has taken place, nor that it was possibly organised by a foreign state, but that (linkbait trigger coming up!) they could publish more pictures of Ms Jolie and you could snigger about someone being rude about her – that is what the headlines were centred on. 

Once the media had done the hackers PR for them and ensured the story had world wide attention, they moved onto repeating an email threat to ‘kill anyone who went to see Sony’s latest film’.

Was it a credible threat? We don’t know. Who made it? We don’t know. Was it any more credible than the claim that a nuclear armed submarine was heading up the Thames to blow up the Queen – something for which its author is currently and belatedly undergoing psychiatric evaluation for having made?

As far as the media is concerned, that is no business of ours. ‘Public Interest’ only extends to frightening the daylights out of us – not knowing whether the source for their latest story has any credibility outside of Broadmoor’s assessment ward.

Once the threat was given worldwide exposure on the front page of every media outlet – how gratifying for the hackers! – the lawyers had no choice other than to warn Sony of the dangers of running the film. No further action was required of the hackers – all it would take is for someone to shout ‘bang-bang’ in a crowded cinema, and the widow of the man sitting at the end of the row who had a heart attack on hearing this would be suing Sony for every penny they had.

Sony have withdrawn a movie they had ploughed millions of investor’s funds into. That is a pretty spectacular result for a group of teenage cyber monkeys who carried out a boring and commonplace data theft – regardless of who pays them. Only made possible by a compliant western media.

At least the hackers were acting out of misplaced, or brain washed, loyalty to their leader. That does seem marginally less reprehensible than acting to fill your column inches and hang onto your sorry job for another month.

The British don’t do loyalty to our ‘leaders’ past or present. No group of anonymous hackers are burrowing into the BBC’s data to find examples of where fading TV producers have sent e-mails denigrating the actors they have the misfortune to work with in order to titivate our media into forcing them to withdraw the insult to our (past) leader.

Over Christmas the BBC will be showing our home grown version of a ‘comedy’ featuring the fictitious assassination of Margaret Thatcher. That is considered good, clean, fun, from the corporation with a mandate to ‘educate, inform and entertain’. Perhaps they could make it a two-parter, and we could all chortle with delight over the episode showing Kim Jong-un’s demise.  Wouldn’t Sony be grateful if the BBC showed their film for them?

The BBC certainly doesn’t have any qualms about offending minority groups; why BBC Worldwide was planning to issue a CD with a variety of uplifting songs to enjoy your festivities with including ‘Slashed Wrists This Ramadan’, ‘That Was The Worst Hanukkah Ever’, ‘A Very Sorry Diwali’, and ‘Historic Sex Was Better In The 80s’ – but to avoid upsetting anyone, at the last minute they settled on:

Slashed Wrists This Christmas, That Was The Worst Christmas Ever, A Very Sorry Christmas, Yule Shoot Your Eye Out and Christmas Was Better In The 80s.

I don’t suppose that any of you cybernauts happen to have an e-mail address for Bureau 121 in Pyongyang do you? I just thought if those lads of theirs were bored over Christmas, they might like to get their fingers twitching over the BBCs ports. I’m sure there would be richer pickings there than at Sony.

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