Sony Pictures Chairman: 'Zero Dark Thirty' Does Not Advocate Torture

Studio responds to Academy member's criticism

Alex Corbet and Jessica Chastain in 'Zero Dark Thirty.'
Sony
Alex Corbet and Jessica Chastain in 'Zero Dark Thirty.'
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An executive with Sony Pictures spoke out on Friday to defend Zero Dark Thirty against charges that the film advocates torture, Reuters reports. The statement came in response to criticism from a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who urged fellow AMPAS members not to vote for the film in the Academy Awards.

"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," said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chairman of its Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group. "This film should be judged free of partisanship," she said, stating that the film "does not advocate torture."

Secrets of 'Zero Dark Thirty'

In a rally against the torture of terror suspects on Friday in Los Angeles, actor and Academy member David Clendon had denounced the film, which dramatizes the hunt for Osama bin Laden. "I believe that the film clearly promotes a tolerance for torture," Clennon said. "I hope that my fellow members of the Academy will consider the morality of each nominee."

Zero Dark Thirty, which was nominated in five Oscar categories, including best picture, received similar criticism last month from a group of U.S. Senators. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and John McCain (R-Arizona) wrote a letter to Sony Pictures chairman and chief executive Michael Lynton claiming that the film inaccurately depicts torture as producing information that led to bin Laden's capture.