If you have been keeping up with your entertainment news, then you have likely witnessed North Korea’s negative reaction against the United States for allowing James Franco and Seth Rogen to include their leader in the duo’s latest film, “The Interview.” North Korea released a strongly worded statement through its state-run news agency, adding, “If the United States administration tacitly approves or supports the release of this film, we will take a decisive and merciless countermeasure.” The statement also described the movie as “an act of war that we will never tolerate.”


Although the directors merely portray a fictional scenario-land where nonsensical characters mock North Korea’s leaders, the country took such offense that they believed the right to even view the film should be revoked from audiences. This is not the first time our entertainment industry has suffered backlash from the international community. Hollywood has been under attack before for various reasons, with political and religious themes causing sensitivity tends to resonate most severely with various nations in the far East.


For instance, Brad Pitt was even banned from entering China because he starred in the film “Seven Years in Tibet.” The film more or less promoted Tibetan independence from China and compared Chinese people to the Nazi regime, causing Chinese officials to literally bar Pitt from entering the country on any terms.


Even earlier this year, “Noah” received negative reviews. Malaysia noted, “The movie is banned because for us Muslims, we believe in Prophet Noah (Nabi Nuh) and according to Islamic teachings, it is prohibited to act out any characters of a prophet, Abdul Hamid told Malaysia daily, ‘The Sun.’ Any depiction of any prophet is prohibited in Islam.” Other countries jumped on the hater’s club bandwagon as well, including Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt , the United Arab Emirates, and Indonesia.


Sometimes, our freedoms as Americans (speech, press, expression, etc.) can get our favorite artists into trouble, but it is through these tribulations that our community of free-thinkers strengthens. Remembering our blessings, especially on this upcoming Fourth of July, solidifies our bond as a nation that may continue to express ourselves freely without censorship — although, Edward Snowden would likely disagree. These bans and threats make us appreciate the reason why we are allowed to create art in the first place. For that reason, this MUIPR writer is happy to be an American.


What do you think of countries like North Korea banning American films to their citizens? What makes you appreciate the freedoms we experience with the arts in the United States? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet me @Kelseymbro