The heads of four top studios have denied receiving a petition George Clooney and his agent created as part of bid to back Sony executives amid firm’s recent hack attack.
The movie star revealed he and Bryan Lourd quietly sent out the document to leading Tinseltown players in the hope of offering Sony bosses a groundswell of support as they faced off with cyberterrorists threatening to attack cinemas screening comedy The Interview.
Hours after Sony chiefs scrapped the film’s Christmas Day release, Clooney went public with the petition, revealing that everyone refused to sign it fearing reprisals from the hackers who had stolen Sony database information and released embarrassing private email correspondence between executives.
But now it appears Clooney’s petition wasn’t as widespread as he suggested – representatives for four studios tell The Hollywood Reporter their top executives never received the document.
The reps for Disney, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros. and Lionsgate, as well as talent agencies WME and UTA, insist their bosses were never approached to sign anything.
One studio head tells the publication, “I never heard of it until I saw press about a petition not getting signed. No one I know has heard of it… We would’ve signed it, but we had never heard of it.”
Clooney previously told The Hollywood Reporter, “Bryan Lourd and I were sent a letter from the head of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), Chris Dodd, which was to be circulated to the studios. It didn’t ask for support for the release of the film in the face of threats, so we wrote a new letter and sent it to the MPAA.
“Over the next 24 hours, Bryan asked several people to sign on to the petition. One said he would if others did, the rest said flat out ‘no’. Chris Dodd told Bryan that he had no takers either.”
Clooney told Deadline.com, “It (petition) was sent to basically the heads of every place. They told Bryan Lourd, ‘I can’t sign this’. What? How can you not sign this? I’m not going to name anyone, that’s not what I’m here to do, but nobody signed the letter.”
Clooney, Lourd and representatives at the MPAA have yet to comment on the latest story.
Meanwhile, Sony bosses have now had second thoughts about releasing The Interview and the comedy, in which Seth Rogen and James Franco play journalists tasked with killing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will hit select cinemas on Thursday.