One of the biggest issues I have with this whole episode is how it's been covered. I'm frustrated with both the news media and consumers for thinking the sordid (and unflattering) information released in those emails was newsworthy. It wasn't. The story, the only story, is that the info was released illegally. But now journalists are deciding it's in the public interest to read Channing Tatum's emails, and as consumers we've been eating it up.
I say 'we' because I'm culpable. I read the leaked emails revealing Marvel and Sony had indeed been talking about sharing Spider-Man, and my first thought was, 'hell yes I was right, I knew they had been talking!' Instead, I should have been angry at the credible news site that ran that story.
But industry-gossip is exciting, so most of us didn't mind having a little fun at Sony's expense. Now that I've had more time to think about it, I'm disappointed in myself and have avoided viewing more information as best I can. By publishing and reading information obtained illegally, we’re condoning it. If you feel tabloid journalists like TMZ shouldn’t make a living out of invading celebrities’ privacy, don't perpetuate this invasion of privacy.
Not even four years ago in Aurora, Colorado a lone gunman ended 12 lives in one night. I have to believe that after the threat about The Interview, the theater owners had serious talks with their lawyers regarding what kind of trouble they could be in if they showed the film and an act of violence does happen. Now, the U.S Department of Homeland Security had stated there was no credible threat of violence, but the night before Aurora, Colorado I'd be willing to bet no one thought there was a credible threat either.
What I'm confident about is that if the theater owners and Sony had shown the film and something did happen, we'd all be calling for their resignation. In the last couple years there's been a lot of talk about the morality behind large corporations but I'd say in this case they were (at least partially) motivated by not wanting to get people killed, however cautious that reasoning was.
So why are people still calling Sony cowards? Yes they could have exercised some contractual obligation to force the theaters to go ahead with the film, but instead they supported the theater owners in whatever decision they chose to make, and are still seeking an avenue to release the film. That hardly sounds like a cowardly or amoral decision to make.Yet still, nobody is on their side. Even President Obama is calling them out. When I have to empathize with a multi-billion dollar corporation, something has gone horribly wrong.
I'm not saying I agree with every choice they've made. It would have been so cool if Sony and the theaters gave the middle finger to these threats, and proceeded with business as usual. Are you kidding, I would have loved that! But again, what if they did and the unthinkable happened? They're in uncharted waters here, and I think saying otherwise is overly simplistic.
Sure they didn't do what we all might have wanted them to do, but they didn't do anything wrong either. At the end of the day these are moral and ethical questions we're all dealing with hypothetically. They don't have that luxury.
So lay off Sony. They've had a hell of a month, and after officially stating they're still committed to releasing the film through some avenue, I think they've proved themselves not cowards.
Now I'm going to go have an existential crisis, because I just defended the studio that put out Spider-Man 3.
Do you agree? Disagree? Had you been trying to forget all about Spider-Man 3 and now we've reminded you? Let us know in the comments below.