Priebus to movie execs: Don't be bullied

Republican National Committee chairman Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusFormer Trump staffer suing Trump, campaign over sex discrimination Founder of veterans group says Trump Jr. can join the military if he 'really wants to understand what sacrifice is all about' Mulvaney faces uncertain future after public gaffes MORE urged cinema executives to reverse their decision not to show the Sony film “The Interview,” writing in an open letter Saturday that he would lobby his party’s donors and supporters to see the film if movie theaters agreed to sell tickets.

“Giving in to threats from the North Korean dictatorship is ceding our freedom to the whims of a totalitarian regime,” Priebus said in a letter to the heads of cinema chains like AMC, Regal, and Cineplex. “We are setting a troubling example and a terrible precedent.”


Priebus said he would urge GOP supporters to purchase a ticket to the film “not to support one movie or Hollywood, but to show North Korea we cannot be bullied into giving up our freedom.”

Many movie theater chains said they would not show the film after hackers responsible for a massive data breach at Sony Pictures threatened a September 11-style attack on moviegoers that saw the comedy, which depicts the assassination of North Korean president Kim Jung Un. Sony Pictures subsequently canceled the release of the film.

President Obama said Friday he thought that decision was a mistake, and that he wished Sony had called him before deciding to pull the film.

“I would have told them, ‘Do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these criminal attacks,’” Obama said.

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said Friday that the studio was forced to do so as theaters abandoned the film.

“The movie theaters came to us, one by one, over a course of a very short period of time, we were completely surprised by it, and announced that they would not carry the movie,” Lynton told CNN.

“At that point in time, we had no alternative but to not proceed with the theatrical release on the 25th of December.”

Priebus accused Obama of having sent “mixed messages on this issue,” although did not detail his concerns. The White House has acknowledged speaking to Sony about the cyberattack, but officials have said they were not consulted about the decision to pull the film.

The RNC head also suggested that if theaters do decide to show the film, that a share of the profits be donated to the USO or the Yellow Ribbon Fund “because this is now bigger than one movie.”