PEN American Center applauds Sony’s announcement today that The Interview will be screened at a limited number of theaters on December 25, the film’s original planned release date. The announcement comes a day after PEN sent an open letter to Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, signed by Salman Rushdie, Jennifer Egan, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Sondheim, PEN’s Board of Trustees, and other prominent writers and artists. The letter called upon Sony to fulfill its pledge to find a way to release The Interview, and offered PEN’s assistance to host a screening of the film. 

PEN’s letter stated: “If the decision to pull The Interview from all platforms stands, it will represent a lasting blow for free expression, emboldening would-be censors the world over. Impoverishing creative freedom, that outcome would send a message to writers, artists, publishers, and studios that controversial topics are to be avoided—that our right to free speech at home depends on the whims of violent extremists abroad.”

We commend Sony and independent theater owners for standing up to thuggery in defense of free expression. Their actions send a strong message that threats of violence will not succeed in curtailing our rights to write, to create, and to speak freely.