When Sony green-lit The Interview, they obviously ignored the fact that Kim Jong Un ‘went nuclear’ on a prior occasion after he was spoofed. The Onion, a satirical publication, declared him 2012’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” They facetiously wrote, “With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true.” When it came to light that The Onion was only calling him a “real hunk” to mock him, Kim Jong Un was not amused. Indeed, the fallout came mere months later, in 2013, when he threatened the U.S. with a pre-emptive nuclear attack, and revealed plans to strike cities including Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
No, Kim Jong Un was clearly not the bear to poke, neither then nor now, because these narcissistic wounds make him want to retaliate by flexing his military muscle. But, although making the movie may have been a bad idea, it is an even worse idea to pull the movie from theaters and let the terrorists win! We are now being seen as a cowering nation and terrorists from North Korea to the Middle East are laughing – and probably spoofing – us.
Although Sony and movie theaters are undoubtedly scared of being sued and losing millions if even one lone terrorist carries out an attack on a showing of “The Interview,” the greater picture must be envisioned here. To cower is to ‘greenlight’ future hack and terrorist attacks. Surely Sony could release the film on DVD or via the Internet, suggesting that viewers make a donation to a charity or counter-terrorism organization.
A chilling domino effect is already occurring, with some theaters refusing to show Team America and New Regency studio cancelling Steve Carell’s movie set in North Korea. History may well look back on this day – the day Hollywood capitulated to terrorists – as the beginning of our downfall. We need to wake up, show the world that free speech is alive and well, and encourage people not to lose their sense of humor.
Carole Lieberman, M.D., America's Psychiatrist, is a 3-time Emmy award-winner, TV personality and radio talk show host (drcarole.com). She's an award-winning author of three books, including Coping with Terrorism: Dreams Interrupted.