Why Mitt Romney may have the right response for Sony's 'The Interview'

Mitt Romney's suggested effort would be the latest in a long history of using America media to raise money for a worthy cause. 

Michael Holahan, AP Photo, The Augusta Chronicle, File
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses an enthusiastic crowd during a campaign event for Republican senate candidate David Perdue, Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 29, 2014, in Augusta, Ga.

What should Sony Pictures Entertainment, reeling from an ongoing data hack, do after it recalls "The Interview" after mounting pressure from the hackers themselves?

On Wednesday night, Mitt Romney gave his two cents.

Though a Sony spokeswoman said that the company “has no further release plans for the film,” former Massachusetts Governor Romney’s idea isn’t so far-fetched, at least in the context of using American media as a fund-raiser.

The charity album has been a staple of the US music industry for decades, and other types of media have also succeeded in bringing attention — and money — to different causes.

Perhaps the best known group is Band Aid.

In 1984, 40 artists — including Sting, Bono, and Phil Collins — came together to record “Do They Know It’s Christmas” as part of Band Aid. Proceeds from the single have contributed more than $24 million to anti-poverty efforts in Ethiopia, according to The Telegraph.

Band Aid 30, the group’s latest iteration, re-released the song in mid-November with a video highlighting the devastation brought by Ebola to West Africa. Proceeds will support Ebola prevention, and Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the track raised $1.5 million in minutes. The Ebola outbreak has claimed the lives of 6,900 people in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, according to recent estimates from the Center for Disease Control. 

Several singles in the 1990s supported AIDS charities and research, and after the Sept. 11, 2001 attack, many artists sang to support victims and relief.

Outside of the music industry, the Independent Journal Review notes, comedian Louis CK split some earnings from a 2011 streaming performance online to different charities.

The Blockbuster hit “Catching Fire” (2013) was screened two days before the wider film release as a charity fundraiser as well. The event brought in $40,000 for St. Mary’s House, a center that helps teens and adults with intellectual disabilities, WLKY reported

And having a "suggested donation" instead of a fixed ticket price is not unprecedented, either.

In 2007, Radiohead asked buyers to pay what they want before purchasing its “In Rainbows” album. Wired reported that about 40 percent of downloaders paid for the album in the first month, which earned $3 million for the band. 

As some would-be viewers of "The Interview" say they are eager to see the film — if only to better understand what provoked the North Korea's hackers  — maybe Romney is onto something.

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