LONDON – If you’re making a movie about WikiLeaks, this is the kind of thing you probably see coming.
Julian Assange says he has obtained a leaked copy of the script for “The Fifth Estate,” a DreamWorks film about the maverick computer expert and his famed secret-busting site. In a speech before the Oxford Union debating society earlier this week, Assange said his unauthorized sneak peek has left him convinced the film is a hit piece.
“It is a mass propaganda attack against WikiLeaks, the organization (and) the character of my staff,” he said, adding that the movie – the opening scenes of which Assange described as taking place in Tehran and Cairo – also hyped Western fears over Iran’s disputed atomic energy program.
“It is not just an attack against us, it is an attack against Iran. It fans the flames of an attack against Iran,” he said.
A DreamWorks spokeswoman declined to comment on Assange’s claims.
In a telephone interview late Friday, Assange said the film’s plot revolves around a fictional mole in Iran’s nuclear program who discovers that the country has nearly finished building an atom bomb and will soon be in a position to load it onto ballistic missiles. The film has the informant fleeing to Iraq when WikiLeaks publishes his name among its massive trove of classified material.
The film is due for release in November.
Hasbro 4Q revenue misses; layoffs coming
NEW YORK – Toy maker Hasbro said Friday that its fourth-quarter revenue failed to meet expectations because of weaker-than-expected demand over the holidays. It plans to cut about 10 percent of its workforce and consolidate facilities to reduce expenses.
The stock dropped 3 percent Friday.
Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro, whose brands include Monopoly and Nerf, has about 5,500 employees worldwide. A 10 percent workforce cut would put about 550 people out of work.
The company will report its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results on Feb. 7.
Gatorade to remove controversial ingredient
NEW YORK – PepsiCo Inc. is removing a controversial ingredient from its Gatorade sports drink following customer complaints.
A spokeswoman for the company, Molly Carter, said the move was in the works for the past year after the company began “hearing rumblings” from consumers about the ingredient. She said it wasn’t a response to a recent petition on Change.org by a Mississippi teenager.
That petition noted that the ingredient, brominated vegetable oil, has been patented as a flame retardant and is banned in Japan and the European Union. The petition had more than 200,000 supporters Friday.
Carter said the ingredient is still used in other PepsiCo drinks, such as Mountain Dew.
Mass. judge freezes pharmacy owners’ assets
BOSTON – A bankruptcy court judge has frozen the assets of the owners of a Massachusetts pharmacy blamed for a deadly meningitis outbreak.
Judge Henry Boroff’s order Friday at a hearing in Springfield forbids the owners of the New England Compounding Center from spending or moving their assets, except to pay living expenses or legal bills. His written order is expected Monday.
The courtroom order came on request of a creditors’ committee and applies to owners Barry Cadden, Lisa Cadden, Greg Conigliaro and Carla Conigliaro. The committee worried the owners’ assets would be further depleted before creditors are paid.
The meningitis outbreak is blamed for 44 deaths. The owners face dozens of lawsuits.