Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sony Reached Out to Think Tanks for North Korea Advice

Sony reached out to various think tanks for advice and intelligence when it learned that North Korea was angry about its film "The Interview," according to Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, who was interviewed by CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

RAND Corporation Senior Defense Analyst Bruce Bennett said that he was asked by Mr. Lynton to look at "The Interview," and Mr. Bennett said that the film should be released.  Mr. Lynton is on the Board of Trustees of RAND.  Here are some more Bennett comments, from Deadline:
Bennett says Sony chief Michael Lynton...asked him, as a favor, to look at the movie. “I told him I thought it was coarse, that it was over the top in some areas, but that I thought the depiction of Kim Jong Un was a picture that needed to get into North Korea. There are a lot of people in prison camps in North Korea who need to take advantage of a change of thinking in the north.”

Here is a biography of Bruce Bennett, who has written extensively about Korean security issues.  Here is a December 11 piece by Mr. Bennett titled "Did North Korea Hack Sony?"

Interestingly, Mr. Lynton of Sony moderated a panel at RAND titled "How Hollywood Affects Global Policy" in which the topic of playing real-life characters and the legal/moral obligations to living subjects was brought up.  A video of that 2012 event can be watched here.

Many other South Korea and North Korea experts at think tanks have weighed in on the Sony film issue, including Victor Cha of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Katharine H.S. Moon of Brookings, and Scott Snyder of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

In related think tank-Hollywood news, think tankers from all over the world traveled to Santa Monica, California for a three-day Lights, Camera, Liberty conference focused on helping think tanks create and distribute high-impact videos online.  That event is sponsored by the Atlas Network.