You know that old expression about not poking a sleeping bear? I’m pretty sure that should apply to very much awake, cyber-savvy bears as well, but no matter – human rights activists are teaming up to balloon drop 100,000 copies of controversial Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy The Interview into North Korea.
Activist Park Sang-hak, who defected from North Korea along with his family in 1999, is teaming up with the Human Rights Foundation, a U.S. non-profit organization, to pull off the ambitious stunt. 100,000 DVD copies and USB memory sticks of the film, in which two American journalists attempt to assassinate Kim Jong-un after being granted an exclusive interview with him, will be launched over the border from South Korea via balloon.
It is reported that all copies of the film will be outfitted with Korean subtitles, though that has not yet been confirmed by the Human Rights Foundation. Speaking with the Associated Press, Park explained, “North Korea’s absolute leadership will crumble if the idolization of leader Kim breaks down.”
The Human Rights Foundation has been active in speaking out against the Kim regime in North Korea for years. Most recently, the group launched the #HackThemBack campaign on December 19, aiming to raise $250,000 to flood the nation with films, books, education materials and other equipment to introduce citizens to the Western world and serve as an alternative to government propaganda.
The group also has experiencing with balloon drops, having been partnering with activists to pull them off since 2009. This Interview-related event is expected to be carried out around January 20, dependent on weather conditions.
This isn’t the first time The Interview has gone from a simple comedy to a political object. Apparently angered by its planned release, hackers attacked distributor Sony in November, leaking terabytes of sensitive data to the Internet along with finished copies of five studio releases, including Fury and the then-unreleased Annie. As Sony fought to steady the course and release The Interview on Christmas Day, the hackers threatened movie theaters with terrorist action, leading many theater chains to drop the title. Eventually, Sony decided to plot a VOD release, and some theaters agreed to screen the film, though the film’s box office had been irreparably decimated by that point.
Whether the same hackers will have anything to say about activists balloon-dropping copies of The Interview into North Korea remains to be seen. Now that the U.S. has formally accused North Korea of the Sony hack, they may have shrunk back into the darkness, but if anything would draw them out, it would be this plan. We’ll keep you posted.