Esteemed Authors Pen Powerful Open Letter to Sony, Urging Them to Release ‘The Interview’
Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman and Jennifer Egan are among the authors who have signed an open letter to Sony requesting The Interview‘s release — and even offering to screen it themselves.
Sony’s decision to pull back The Interview has opened up a giant can of worms in America, as creatives everywhere are worried about the precedent this censorship sets for their future rights of free expression.
Fox’s decision to cancel another movie set in North Korea proves that they have reason for concern, and although Sony has now pledged to screen the Seth Rogen comedy eventually, it is clearly too little too late.
The PEN American Center has been joined by almost 50 distinguished writers, authors, playwrights and novelists who have signed an open letter to Sony criticising their decision and urging them to release the film to the public.
The letter is voiced in a very sympathetic manner, recognizing Sony as a victim that seems unable to defend itself.
“We recognize that Sony’s position is a difficult one,” the letter says, and “we recognize that [releasing the movie] will entail some sacrifice, compromise and even a measure of risk.” But, “upholding free expression will be worth the price.”
Salman Rushdie, one of the authors involved, has himself been the target of a Fatwa issued by the Supreme Leader of Iran. Having experience dealing with extremist death threats, then, the organization also wants to extend solidarity to Sony, “and offer our support in whatever form is useful to you and to all those involved in The Interview.”
“PEN is appalled at the intrusive, criminal and profoundly menacing reprisals and threats that Sony Pictures has endured as a result of producing and planning to distribute The Interview. PEN has long stood with writers and creators who have suffered assaults aimed to suppress the dissemination of their ideas. We believe firmly that violence is never justified as a reaction to speech, no matter how offensive that speech may be to some,” the letter states.
But, “that the intervention of a foreign government that makes a mockery of intellectual freedom should determine what the American public can see and what American artists can produce is shocking; it puts us all under the sway of armed fundamentalism and intolerance.”
Urging Sony to take “swift action” in following through on their pledge to screen The Interview, they then offer to host a screening themselves in New York City, with “appropriate security precautions.” They write,
“This is a genuine offer and one that we hope you will take seriously. We host well over 100 cultural events each year in New York and would be proud to work on a screening of The Interview that would highlight the issues at stake.”
The letter finishes with a powerful message: “We urge Sony to demonstrate the power of free expression by denying the cowards who made these threats the satisfaction of thinking they have succeeded.”
We hope Sony takes PEN up on their generous offer!
You can read the full open letter from PEN to Sony on their website.