Brad Pitt and Seth Rogen lead backlash against media over Sony hacks

Seth Rogen at the premiere of 'The Interview' in Los Angeles. (Kevork Djansezian, Reuters)

Seth Rogen at the premiere of 'The Interview' in Los Angeles. (Kevork Djansezian, Reuters)

Various Hollywood figures, including Brad Pitt, Aaron Sorkin and Seth Rogen, have criticised the media publicly for publishing stories based on information hacked from Sony Pictures.

The hack by the group Guardians of Peace revealed email conversations between Sony executives and actors, discussing the likes of Pitt’s wife Angelina Jolie, who was described as a “minimally talented spoiled brat” by producer Scott Rudin. Speaking at the premiere of Jolie’s film Unbroken, Pitt said: “I don’t see a difference in News Corp hacking phone calls and hacking e-mails. I don’t think we should be able to participate.
I think someone’s conversation, whether in e-mail or in person, should be private. We shouldn’t be participating and these sites that are disseminating them should stop. They won’t. And we should stop reading them. We won’t. It’s more of an indictment on us, I think.”

Seth Rogen meanwhile, whose North Korea-baiting film The Interview was cited as a catalyst for the hacks by Guardians of Peace, said in an interview that “everyone is doing exactly what these criminals want ... It’s stolen information that media outlets are directly profiting from.”

Aaron Sorkin, whose screenplay for an upcoming Steve Jobs biopic was at the heart of one set of hacked emails, has penned a New York Times opinion piece in which he asserts that the media is “giving material aid to criminals ... the minor insults that were revealed are such small potatoes compared to the fact that they were revealed. Not by the hackers, but by American journalists helping them.

“I understand that news outlets routinely use stolen information. That’s how we got the Pentagon Papers, to use an oft-used argument. But there is nothing in these documents remotely rising to the level of public interest of the information found in the Pentagon Papers.”

Their criticisms come as Sony’s law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner has ordered news organisations to “destroy the stolen information” and cease publication of any portion of it.

The studio’s chief executive, Michael Lynton, reassured employees in a company meeting that the hack “will not take us down – you should not be worried about the future of this studio”.

Guardians of Peace have threatened to release another batch of files as a “Christmas gift”, leading to pre-emptive manoeuvres by Sony staff. Co-chair Amy Pascal, whose correspondence has been featured frequently in the hacked emails, has contacted the likes of producer Harvey Weinstein to apologise if any disparaging remarks are leaked, according to Variety.

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