On the day that "Zero Dark Thirty" hits theaters nationwide, Sony Pictures Entertainment issued a statement defending the movie after an Academy member said that he would not vote for the movie because he says it advocates the acceptance of torture.
Sony took the unusual step of issuing a statement from SPE co-chair Amy Pascal, in what it characterized as a response to public comments made by an Academy member, actor David Clennon, that he would not vote for the movie because he felt it promoted the acceptance of the use of torture in the war on terror.
In her statement, Pascal said that the movie "does not advocate torture," and criticized Clennon, for using his "voting status in AMPAS as a platform to advance their own political agenda."
A representative for Clennon was seeking comment from his client.
The movie already has sparked a furor among some lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who claim that it wrongly depicts waterboarding as beneficial to extracting valuable information in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Bigelow and Boal have defended the movie. Although it scored Oscar nominations on Thursday for best picture and for its screenplay, the surprise was that Bigelow was excluded from the nominees for director.
Pascal said, " 'Zero Dark Thirty' does not advocate torture. To not include that part of history would have been irresponsible and inaccurate. We fully support Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal and stand behind this extraordinary movie. We are outraged that any responsible member of the Academy would use their voting status in AMPAS as a platform to advance their own political agenda. This film should be judged free of partisanship. To punish an Artist's right of expression is abhorrent.
She added, "This community, more than any other, should know how reprehensible that is. While we fully respect everyone's right to express their opinion, this activity is really an affront to the Academy and artistic creative freedom. This attempt to censure one of the great films of our time should be opposed. As Kathryn Bigelow so appropriately said earlier this week, 'depiction is not endorsement, and if it was, no artist could ever portray inhumane practices; no author could ever write about them; and no filmmaker could ever delve into the knotty subjects of our time.' We believe members of the Academy will judge the film on its true merits and will tune out the wrongful and misdirected rhetoric."
Clennon played Miles Drentell on "Thirtysomething," and more recently appeared in "The Mentalist" and "J. Edgar." Several weeks ago, a man identifying himself as Dave Clennon commented on a New Yorker story about the protest waged against the film by Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan.).