Just one day after Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton convened a town-hall meeting for Sony employees in the wake of the company’s widespread data breach and proclaimed, “This won’t take us down,” hackers released a “Christmas gift”: Lynton’s emails.
The hackers from the so-called Guardians of Peace posted the information online, along with a very disturbing threat to people who watch The Interview, the Seth Rogen and James Franco-starring comedy centered around a TV host and his producer assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
“We have already promised a Christmas gift to you,” the message read. “This is the beginning of the gift.”
Then came a warning.
“We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”
The message concluded: “Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY.”
It’s not entirely clear what “premiere” of The Interview the hackers are referring to, since the official premiere of the film took place two days ago in Los Angeles.
So far this is the ninth leak of Sony internal data by Guardians of Peace, which began posting caches of files online on or around Nov. 24. The data has included everything from employee Social Security numbers and salaries to the private emails of Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment; Leah Weil, general counsel for SPE; Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Televsion; Steven O’Dell, president of Sony Pictures Releasing International; and now Lynton.
The contents of the leaks have included racially insensitive emails between Pascal and movie producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network) about President Obama, a gender pay gap among high-level executives at SPE, the revelation that Jennifer Lawrence was compensated less than her male co-stars on American Hustle, the drama surrounding the release and studio censoring of The Interview, and more.
And on Monday, two former employees filed a class action lawsuit against Sony in California District Court alleging the company failed to adequately secure its servers and protect employees’ personal information from hackers.