International tensions over “The Interview” may not be dying down just yet.
A South Korean activist has dreamed up a way to deliver the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy about an assassination plot against the leader of North Korea directly to the isolated country.
Activist Park Sang-hak said he will use balloons to start dropping 100,000 DVDs and thumb drives containing the movie over North Korea as early as January, the Associated Press reported. The balloon airdrops will be done clandestinely, Park said, with the pace picking up in March, when he expects wind direction to be more favorable.
“North Korea’s absolute leadership will crumble if the idolization of leader Kim breaks down,” Park told the Associated Press.
To accomplish the cinematic airdrop, Park is partnering with U.S. nonprofit the Human Rights Foundation, an “organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies,” according to its Web site. The nonprofit recently launched #HackThemBack, an education campaign that invites people to help North Korean defectors “break the monopoly of information that the Kim regime imposes.” On a crowdfunding website, the #HackThemBack campaign seeks $250,000 in donations to support the work of the defectors.
“Your donation will allow us to get vital information to the North Korean people so they can begin to choose for themselves the kind of world in which they want to live,” according to the site. “There is no dungeon deep enough to hide the truth and no wall high enough to stop the message of freedom. Fortunately, tyranny cannot control the winds.”
“The Interview” has been at the heart of increasing tensions between the United States and North Korea. The computer systems of Sony Pictures were hacked in a cyberattack that appeared to be motivated by animosity toward the film. After the FBI blamed North Korea, North Korea denied responsibility. Then, Internet access in North Korea went down — and the dictatorial regime of Kim Jong Un blamed the United States for what appeared to be a counterattack in retaliation for the attack against Sony. However, it is not clear whether the U.S. government or independent hackers was behind recent problems with the Internet in North Korea.
The regime, which is no fan of a film about a plot to assassinate its leader, has taken issue with “The Interview” — and with recent comments by President Barack Obama about Sony’s initial decision not to distribute the film after threats against U.S. theaters that planned to screen the comedy.
In his year-end news conference, the president called Sony’s initial decision a “mistake.”
“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States,” Obama said. “Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don’t like or news reports that they don’t like.”
After Obama’s criticism, Sony changed course and, in a move that angered North Korea, gave the controversial film wide release online and limited release at some independent theaters.
In a recent statement, North Korea’s ruling body, the National Defense Commission, said Obama was “the chief culprit” for the movie’s release.
“Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” an unnamed spokesman for the commission said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.
It is unclear how successful the efforts of Park and the Human Rights Foundation will be, however, in bringing “The Interview” directly to North Koreans. Many in the country may not have access to a computer, but access to televisions and DVD players is believed to be more widespread.