Sony facing public relations backlash after pulling film

(NBC News) – “The Interview” can’t escape the spotlight.

Sony Entertainment has been blasted on social media and in the press for pulling the film in the wake of a hacking attack and threats against its release.

“It’s a form of extortion, and companies deal with extortion all the time and backing down is not one of the ways you deal with that,” says former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Robert Liscouski.

Sony Pictures decided the show would not go on after volumes of data were hacked from company computers and released to the public, followed by threats envoking memories of the 9/11 attacks issued against theaters planning to screen the film. A federal investigation continues.

“It is being treated by those investigative agencies at FBI and DOJ as seriously as you would expect,” says White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

Meanwhile, officials are weighing the consequences for those involved. “We are considering a range of options, we consider this a very serious attack,” says Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

In the wake of the Sony hack, a second studio, 20th century fox, has scrapped a Steve Carell project set in North Korea. Carell responded on twitter with “sad day for creative expression.”

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