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Sony's Amy Pascal defends Zero Dark Thirty in torture row

Zero Dark Thirty

Story by Jack Foley

AMY Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, has strongly defended Oscar nominated movie Zero Dark Thirty against accusations that it advocates the use of torture.

In a defiant statement released on Friday, 24 hours after the movie was shortlisted in tne best film category at the Academy Awards, 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.”

Pascal’s comments came in light of comments made by Academy member David Clennon who wrote in an opinion piece posted on January 9 on the website truth-out.org: “I’m a member of Hollywood’s Motion Picture Academy. At the risk of being expelled for disclosing my intentions, I will not be voting for Zero Dark Thirty – in any Academy Awards category.”

He also took part in a demonstration in front of the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles to protest against conditions in Guantanamo on Friday (January 11, 2013), during the promotion for which he said in his statement to the media: “I firmly believe that the film Zero Dark Thirty promotes the acceptance of the crime of torture as a legitimate weapon in America’s so-called War on Terror.”

Addressing those remarks more directly in her response, Pascal said: “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. This community, more than any other, should know how reprehensible that is.”

Read Pascal’s full statement here

Zero Dark Thirty, which chronicles the hunt for Osama bin Laden, has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture.

However, its director Kathryn Bigelow did not receive a nomination for best director.

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