Skybound Entertainment Investigates Alleged North Korean Connection to 'Invincible' Animation

Skybound Entertainment launches internal review after allegations of North Korean involvement in the production of its animated series 'Invincible' and other shows, raising concerns about supply chain security and sanctions compliance.

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Muhammad Jawad
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Skybound Entertainment Investigates Alleged North Korean Connection to 'Invincible' Animation

Skybound Entertainment Investigates Alleged North Korean Connection to 'Invincible' Animation

Skybound Entertainment, the production company behind the popular Amazon Prime animated series 'Invincible,' has launched an internal review following allegations that one of the show's sketches was discovered on a cloud server linked to a North Korean IP address. The incident has raised concerns about the security and oversight of the show's production process, as well as the ability of U.S. companies to control their supply chains and avoid work that could potentially violate sanctions on North Korea.

The misconfigured cloud server, discovered by cybersecurity researcher Nick Roy, contained thousands of animation files, including work on 'Invincible' and other shows like Max's upcoming superhero series 'Iyanu Child of Wonder' and a Japanese anime series. The files included editing comments and instructions in Chinese, which were translated to Korean, suggesting the involvement of North Korean animators in the production process.

While there is no evidence that the studios were aware their proprietary work was on a North Korean server, the researchers found connections to North Korean-operated businesses in China, which are used to evade sanctions and raise funds for the regime. The North Korean regime has a long history of using animation as a source of revenue and propaganda, and the country has been known to outsource animation work to third-party companies.

Why this matters: The discovery raises concerns about the ability of U.S. tech and creative arts companies to control their supply chains and avoid work that could inadvertently violate sanctions banning countries from doing business with North Korea. It also highlights the need for better due diligence on IT outsourcing to ensure workers are properly identified and the work is being done by the intended individuals.

In response to the allegations, Skybound Entertainment issued an official statement denying any involvement with North Korean companies and affirming that they have "no knowledge of any North Korean entities working on [their] animated projects." The company has initiated a thorough internal review, notified the proper authorities, and is cooperating with all appropriate bodies to verify and rectify any potential issues.

Amazon, which distributes 'Invincible' on its Prime Video platform, has directed inquiries to Skybound, while Max, the streaming service owned by Warner Bros Discovery, has not responded to requests for comment regarding the upcoming 'Iyanu Child of Wonder' series. Skybound Entertainment and Lion Forge Entertainment, the producer of 'Iyanu,' have both stated that they are investigating the matter and taking the allegations seriously.

Key Takeaways

  • Skybound Entertainment launches review after North Korea animation link
  • Misconfigured cloud server contained animation files for multiple shows
  • Connections found to North Korean-operated businesses in China
  • Concerns raised about US companies' supply chain control and sanctions
  • Skybound, Max, and Lion Forge investigating the allegations