In an exclusive interview with Deadline, actor George Clooney took a break from political correctness to condemn Hollywood for not defending Sony pictures during the recent cyber attack from North Korea, saying their silence has opened a whole new door of censorship, which he referred to as a “very dangerous pool.”
Much of Clooney’s anger stems from a petition he and his lawyer had circulating throughout the industry over the past several weeks where they asked various executives, producers, and movie stars to sign their name in support of Sony not submitting to the demands of “terrorists.” Not a single person signed. Clooney attributed this cowardice to the leaked email exchanged between Sony chairman Amy Pascal and film producer Scott Rudin where they stereotyped Barack Obama’s movie choices based on him being black.
Here’s the brilliant thing they did. You embarrass them first, so that no one gets on your side. After the Obama joke, no one was going to get on the side of Amy, and so suddenly, everyone ran for the hills. Look, I can’t make an excuse for that joke, it is what it is, a terrible mistake. Having said that, it was used as a weapon of fear, not only for everyone to disassociate themselves from Amy but also to feel the fear themselves. They know what they themselves have written in their emails, and they’re afraid.
While not outright saying it, Clooney essentially fingered Hollywood’s political correctness as the culprit for Sony’s downfall in this incident.
Like filmmaker Judd Apatow, Clooney sees the cyber attack as a cautionary tale that could lead to some very creepy consequences if Hollywood doesn’t take the bull by the horns, fearing the industry could fall into a whole new age of censorship where foreign dictators have a say in what content they produce.
What’s going to happen is, you’re going to have trouble finding distribution. In general, when you’re doing films like that, the ones that are critical, those aren’t going to be studio films anyway. Most of the movies that got us in trouble, we started out by raising the money independently. But to distribute, you’ve got to go to a studio, because they’re the ones that distribute movies. The truth is, you’re going to have a much harder time finding distribution now. 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. 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*cking people.
To Clooney’s credit, he did help produce the movie Argo, which depicted Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution in a starkly brutal light.