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Hackers Who Attacked Sony Pictures Evoke 9/11 In New Threat

CULVER CITY ( — A group claiming to be behind the cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment issued a rambling threat Tuesday against theaters planning to show the upcoming film "The Interview," and said people considering going to the movie should "remember the 11th of September 2001."

The threat, written in broken English was posted on file-sharing services that have been used to circulate internal Sony emails stolen in the cyberattack.

"We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places 'The Interview' be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to," the posting by the Guardians of Peace reads. "Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001."

The threat also warns potential moviegoers to "keep yourself distant from the places at that time. If your house is nearby, you'd better leave."

Some speculation about the motive behind the cyberattack has focused on the Seth Rogen-James Franco film, in which they portray a television interviewer and producer recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The film had a low-key premiere in downtown Los Angeles last week, with no interviews being granted with the stars. The film's New York premiere is scheduled for Thursday, and that event is also expected to be a scaled-down affair.

The threat escalates the situation for Hollywood quite a bit, Matthew Belloni of the Hollywood Reporter tells KNX 1070.

"If people boycott theaters because they're afraid of what might happen in this one theater, then that's going to be a hit to Hollywood," Belloni said.

Beck said the LAPD would be on alert when the film opens.

"We take those threats very seriously and we will take extra precautions during the holidays and at theaters," Beck said. "We're very aware of the controversy surrounding Sony studios so we'll take that into account. I won't get into the details of all of that, but suffice it to say we're aware of it and we'll take appropriate action."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says it is aware of the threats, but says there is no credible information of an attack on movie theaters.

Even so, some theater chains have now decided to no longer show the film.

An employee at Arclight Cinemas told CBS2/KCAL9 it will not be showing the movie.

And according to The Hollywood Reporter, Carmike Cinemas, which has locations in Thousand Oaks and Apple Valley, has also decided to pull it from their schedule.

Actor Charles Rahi Chun, who plays a North Korean general in "The Interview," spoke to CBS2/KCAL9 Tuesday about the ongoing controversy, revealing he felt compelled to speak out because he has family in South Korea.

"If we were in North Korea I'd be thrown into a concentration camp for saying what I'm saying. It baffles me that one of the most backwards countries in the world is able to have this kind of influence on one of the most powerful countries in the world," he said.

Chun says he has no regrets about being in the movie but is concerned people may now hesitate to see it.

"I think it's a real scare tactic and I would hate to see us live in a state of fear rather than celebrating the holidays," he said.

Sony is committed to its Christmas Day opening but is giving theater chains the option not to show the film.

The new threat comes the same day two former employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment filed a lawsuit against the company in U.S. district court. The lawsuit seeks class-action status for former employees whose social security numbers, salary details and other personal information were stolen in the cyberattack.

The plaintiffs are asking for compensation for fixing credit reports, monitoring bank accounts and other costs, as well as damages.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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