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'Everyone caved ... the hackers won' blasts Lowe as Kim movie is pulled

Hollywood stars have reacted furiously to the decision to pull a film about the assassination of the North Korean leader - with Ben Stiller branding it "a threat to freedom of expression".

The Interview has been shelved after hackers threatened to launch terrorist attacks on cinemas that showed the film.

The comedy, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, was due to be released in America on Christmas Day and come to the UK in February.

But hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace threatened to launch attacks like the September 11 atrocities.

Sony Pictures said it was pulling the movie "in light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film".

THREATS

But some of America's biggest stars accused film bosses of bowing to bully-boy tactics.

"Really hard to believe this is the response to a threat to freedom of expression here in America," Ben Stiller said.

Stressing that he was speaking "as a creative person, not any kind of expert", he added: "Terror threats shouldn't dictate free expression. That's my opinion."

Rob Lowe, who stared in the West Wing, said: "Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them. Wow."

He compared the decision to pull the film to the former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement with Adolf Hitler.

"Saw @Sethrogen at JFK. Both of us have never seen or heard of anything like this. Hollywood has done Neville Chamberlain proud today," he tweeted.

Film-maker Michael Moore joked: "Dear Sony Hackers: now that u run Hollywood, I'd also like less romantic comedies, fewer Michael Bay movies and no more Transformers."

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel branded the move an "un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent".

In a statement Sony Pictures said: "The studio, which has been shaken by hacker leaks over the past several weeks, said it respected and shared in the exhibitors' concerns. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our film-makers and their right to free expression."

hnews@herald.ie


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