LOS ANGELES, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- George Clooney thinks the media and Hollywood turned their backs on the "real story" behind the Sony hacks when a group dubbed The Guardian of Peace began releasing private information stolen form the production giant's computer service.
The 53-year-old actor told Deadline he and his lawyer tried to get the top names in Hollywood to sign a petition showing support for Sony when the hack began and claims no one dared to support it over fear of becoming the hacker's next target.
"A good portion of the press abdicated its real duty. 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," said Clooney, who according to one of the leaked correspondences predicted the hack would happen in September.
"We're talking about an actual country deciding what content we're going to have," the actor said of the hackers' threat to attack theaters showing The Interview, a satirical comedy that followed to journalists entrusted with killing North Korea's Kim Jong Un.
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?
The actor goes on to say the Sony hack didn't garner the attention it deserved when The Guardians of Peace released employees' private information -- including emails, salaries and social security numbers -- but it took a threat to blow up a movie theater to get officials to react.
Clooney says the hackers were smart to release the emails first, because that way they "isolated" Sony. He asserts nobody wanted to be affiliated with the company after a leaked correspondence revealed a racial remark made about President Barack Obama.
"...what happened here is part of a much larger deal. A huge deal. And people are still talking about dumb emails," the actor said, later adding the hack will likely have important ramifications in the film industry as it will make it increasingly hard to get big studios to distribute films that are critical.
"This is a silly comedy, but the truth is, what it now says about us is a whole lot," he said. "We have a responsibility to stand up against this. That's not just Sony, but all of us, including my good friends in the press who have the responsibility to be asking themselves: What was important? What was the important story to be covering here?"