The Change.org petition from Aaron Escobar of Woodland Hills, California, asks Sony not to give in to the threats and demands of Guardians of Peace, the party responsible for the Sony hack and which the United States has confirmed is tied to North Korea.
"I believe it is an act of cowardice to so easily given into [sic] the demands of such an anonymous group of individuals. Not simply as a company, but as artists, as Americans," Escobar writes. "As such I implore you to proudly embrace one of our most valued and sacred freedoms of all, the right to free speech."
In response to the petition, we've laid out some pros and cons of releasing the movie on demand. You be the judge and vote, sharing your stance on the film, in the comments section below.
The Guardians of Peace threatened an attack reminiscent of the 9/11 attack, should the film be released in theaters. By releasing the film on demand, Sony takes theaters out of the equation.
By not releasing the film Sony is, in essence, negotiating with terrorists. No one wants to see the bad guy win.
By charging for release on demand instead of racking up at the box office, the film will still garner a profit. Or, like Mitt Romney suggested on Twitter, Sony could donate the profits to fighting Ebola.
In his petition, Escobar says that Sony's decision not to release the film makes the United States look cowardly. Instead of allowing Sony to be bullied into a decision, the studio should stand up against the threat.
Just because North Korea can't target one specific theater if the movie is released on demand doesn't mean the country can't still target Sony and find a way to hurt the United States and its citizens.
Guardians of Peace has threatened to release more inside information on Sony executives if they don't shelve the film for good. This could do even more harm to the company.
Right now, there's still a chance the film could be released in theaters if the United States can contain the threat posed by Guardians of Peace. It won't make it in time for Christmas, but The Interview could still reasonably be released next year.
By not releasing the film per the demands of Guardians of Peace, the studio is not shelving the film indefinitely. It wouldn't be surprising at all if Sony was in fact working with the FBI and following the organization's advice on how to proceed in this matter. By delaying the release, Sony is giving the government more time to contain the threat to our nation.
Sony would be liable if it had information about an attack and still chose to release the film. If an attack did occur as retaliation for The Interview being released, thousands of people could be killed. Furthermore, Sony would be ruined as a company, especially considering the lawsuits that would follow.
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