LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Nearly half of Americans believe Sony Pictures made the wrong decision by cancelling the theatrical release of the comedy “The Interview”, the film that provoked a cyberattack on the studio, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday.
Forty-seven per cent of respondents said they disagreed with Sony scrapping the film last Wednesday, after several movie theatre chains chose not to screen the raunchy satire that depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Another 29 per cent of those polled said they agreed with the decision to pull the film, which had been slated for a Christmas Day release, while 24 per cent said they did not have an opinion.
The FBI has determined that the North Korean government is responsible for the devastating cyberattack that disabled the computer network on Sony Pictures Entertainment and exposed a trove of sensitive data and personal email.
North Korea has denied it was to blame and has even called for a joint investigation, a suggestion Washington’s UN envoy Samantha Powers has called “absurd”.
The online poll, conducted from Dec 18-22, suggests that Americans mostly agree with President Barack Obama when he said last Friday Sony “made a mistake” by cancelling the release and bowing to the intimidation of the hackers. He expressed concerns over self-censorship in Hollywood.
Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton responded by saying the Hollywood studio had no choice after the movie theatres pulled out of the release due to unspecified threats the hackers made against the theatres and audiences. A majority of respondents, 63 per cent, said they agree that North Korea is threat to the United States, while only 20 per cent disagree.
In the wake of the Sony cyberattack, the most destructive on a private company on US soil, the poll showed that Americans are not overwhelmingly becoming more cautious about their email or passwords.