Celebrities including Judd Apatow and Rob Lowe have expressed their outrage at Sony bosses after they decided to scrap plans to release Seth Rogen and James Franco's controversial new comedy The Interview following threats from hackers.
Executives at the major movie studio announced on Wednesday (17Dec14) that the release of the film, about two Americans who set out on a mission to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, would not be released on Christmas Day (25Dec14) as scheduled.
The move came after activists, who hacked into Sony's database last month (Nov14), threatened to carry out 9/11-style terrorists attacks on any theaters screening the film.
The concerning email prompted the cancellation of the film's New York premiere on Thursday (18Dec14), as well as all of Franco and Rogen's promotional appearances.
Chiefs from five of America's top movie theater chains announced they would not be screening the comedy, and Sony bosses soon pulled the plug on the film all together.
The statement released by Sony representatives reads: "We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.
"Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business... We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome."
Now, slew of stars has taken to social media to express their frustration with the decision, including Apatow, who is a frequent collaborator of Rogen and Franco's.
He took to Twitter.com and wrote, "I think it is disgraceful that these theaters are not showing The Interview. Will they pull any movie that gets an anonymous threat now? What if an anonymous person got offended by something an executive at Coke (Coca-Cola) said. Will we all have to stop drinking Coke?
"We also don't know that it isn't a disgruntled employee or a hacker. Do we think North Korea has troops on the ground in the US? Ridiculous. This only guarantees that this movie will be seen by more people on Earth than it would have before. Legally or illegally all will see it."
Rob Lowe, who is in The Interview, wrote, "Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them. Wow.
"Saw @Sethrogen at JFK (New York airport). Both of us have never seen or heard of anything like this. Hollywood has done Neville Chamberlain proud today," referring to the British Prime Minister who famously conceded acquiesced to Adolph Hitler's demands in the lead-up to World War Two.
Actress Mia Farrow shared her disappointment by writing on the microblogging site that the "bad guys won", while comedian Jimmy Kimmel called it an "act of cowardice", and actor Dax Shepherd wrote, "While I understand the necessity to pull The Interview, it makes me furious. Free speech is the most admirable tenet in our constitution."
Meanwhile, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore tried to make light of the subject, and added, "Dear Sony Hackers: now that u run Hollywood, I'd also like less romantic comedies, fewer Michael Bay movies and no more Transformers."