The Media Played the Fiddle While Rome Burned, Says George Clooney

The fallout from the Sony Pictures hack continuesThe Interview is now a non-existent movie (or at least will only have a life if it is made available online as an illegal torrent: a test of bravery for file-sharers as presumably they would be under threat of consequences for the bootleg that makes The Expendables 3 lawsuit seem like a picnic).

Fans of pissing off North Korea can’t even enjoy Team America World Police instead. The Alamo Drafthouse proposed showing the puppet comedy instead of The Interview, but Paramount kiboshed the idea.

Hollywood insiders are trying to decide what sort of Pandora’s Box they have opened by giving into the threats of the Guardians of Peace. And honestly, if all it takes to stop a studio from releasing a film is to hear the words 9/11, then it’s arguable that the good guys have already lost.

Meanwhile, George Clooney is now accusing studio executives and industry power figures of downright cowardice, and is furious at the media’s focus on the gossipy emails instead of the nature of the cyber-attack.

Before Sony made the decision to pull The Interview, George Clooney and his agent, Bryan Lourd circulated a petition asking people to support the studio in its fight against hackers. “This is not just an attack on Sony.” reads the statement. “It involves every studio, every network, every business and every individual in this country. That is why we fully support Sony’s decision not to submit to these hackers’ demands. We know that to give in to these criminals now will open the door for any group that would threaten freedom of expression, privacy and personal liberty. We hope these hackers are brought to justice but until they are, we will not stand in fear. We will stand together.” 

Not one person signed it.

“The Interview” –

Talking to Deadline, Clooney admits people in the industry are scared, and he is concerned that the media focus on the leaked emails distracted from the larger truth about the hack. “Having put together telethons where you have to get all the networks on board to do the telethon at the same time, the truth is once you get one or two, then everybody gets on board. It is a natural progression. So here, you get the first couple of people to sign it and … well, nobody wanted to be the first to sign on … This is just where we are right now, how scared this industry has been made. Quite honestly, this would happen in any industry. I don’t know what the answer is, but what happened here is part of a much larger deal. A huge deal. And people are still talking about dumb emails. Understand what is going on right now, because the world just changed on your watch, and you weren’t even paying attention.”

“A good portion of the press abdicated its real duty,” he argued. “They played the fiddle while Rome burned. There was a real story going on. With just a little bit of work, you could have found out that it wasn’t just probably North Korea; it was North Korea. The Guardians of Peace is a phrase that Nixon used when he visited China. When asked why he was helping South Korea, he said it was because we are the Guardians of Peace. Here, we’re talking about an actual country deciding what content we’re going to have. This affects not just movies, this affects every part of business that we have. That’s the truth. What happens if a newsroom decides to go with a story, and a country or an individual or corporation decides they don’t like it? Forget the hacking part of it. You have someone threaten to blow up buildings, and all of a sudden everybody has to bow down. Sony didn’t pull the movie because they were scared; they pulled the movie because all the theaters said they were not going to run it. And they said they were not going to run it because they talked to their lawyers and those lawyers said if somebody dies in one of these, then you’re going to be responsible.”

A timeline of the events of the Sony Pictures Hack is here.

I decided to rewatch Team America: World Police last night. I think it still holds up as a satire. My fluffcast was harder to do than I thought; bloopers are included.

A shorter version of this article appeared at

3 thoughts on “The Media Played the Fiddle While Rome Burned, Says George Clooney

  1. I love Team America, but you have to get the fully uncut version for the maximum puppet-sex effect!
    As for the above film, I don’t think they should have pulled its distribution. It looks so bad, it would have probably committed cinematic suicide anyway.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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