PEN American Center expresses its profound regret at Sony Pictures’ statement that The Interview will not be released on any platform as a result of threats made by unidentified sources. PEN urges Sony to reconsider their decision to withhold the film entirely.

PEN condemns the threats of violence made against movie theaters planning to show the film. We further urge responsible authorities to provide the security measures necessary to secure public safety.  Violence is never a valid response to protected speech, and the safety of theatergoers is paramount. As an organization dedicated to defending free expression around the world, PEN has long documented the chilling effect that threats or acts of violence can have on free speech and creative expression. The chilling effect of Sony’s decision has already been felt throughout the entertainment industry with New Regency’s cancellation of plans for the film Pyongyang. Complete suppression of The Interview would set a dangerous and deeply troubling precedent for other artists considering work on potentially controversial or offensive subjects.  PEN urges Sony Pictures to release The Interview through every channel that does not pose a safety risk, to combat this chilling effect and stand up for creative freedom.

“No matter how objectionable some may find the movie’s content, cancelling all plans to release The Interview deprives those who worked on it of the chance to distribute their work to the public, and denies the public the chance to see and appreciate it,” said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN. “Pulling the film gives the criminals who made these reprehensible threats exactly what they want. Sony should distribute the film as far and wide as possible through channels that are not judged to pose a risk to safety, to demonstrate support for its artists and its ongoing commitment to uninhibited creative freedom. The controversy surrounding the film underscores the importance of allowing a public audience to judge The Interview for itself.”

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Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is an association of 3,500 American writers working to bring down barriers to free expression worldwide.

CONTACT

Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director: snossel@pen.org, +1 212-334-1660 x 104
Katy Glenn Bass, Deputy Director of Free Expression Programs: kglennbass@pen.org, m. +1 646-725-4498