The owners of the Hyland Cinema are reeling after the cinema’s website was hijacked Sunday by someone who posted a bizarre racist manifesto and video.
The hacker also took over the cinema’s e-mail lists and sent the same material to thousands of people under the tagline Hyland Movie Guide: Special God’s Holy Day Edition.
Moira and Ali Adlan, who run Hyland, said they don’t know why they were targeted, but they were forced to shut down the Hyland website and have contacted police.
They fielded many calls from the community and posted a notice on social media explaining that they had been hacked.
“We are hoping we can find out who it is and have them charged with whatever they can be charged with,” Moira Adlan said Sunday.
The hacker struck about 2 a.m. Sunday. Adland said she was surprised because the cinema’s website is hosted by a professional firm that has good security in place.
The rambling manifesto, titled The Declaration of the Independence of Atlantis, rages against the mixing of races and links to an anti-Semitic video.
The manifesto has a name attached to it but Adlan said she can’t be sure the person actually sent the material or it was a prank done by someone else.
The Adlans have run the Hyland for 13 years.
The Wharncliffe Road movie house specializes in small independent films and documentaries and often holds community fundraisers.
On Monday the cinema is hosting a private fundraiser for a group of nurses headed to Ecuador to help children.
Adlan said that’s why it is so disturbing for the cinema’s website to be hijacked by a racist message.
“We are just the opposite. We promote kindness and understanding,” she said.
Carmi Levy, a London-based technology analyst with CTV, said hackers are pervasive and elusive.
“It can and does happen to everyone from the smallest businesses to the largest corporations on the planet. The threat keeps evolving… It’s a never-ending game of cat and mouse.”
The hackers of the Hyland website would be charged with fraud and potentially hate crimes if police can track them down, Levy said.
“If it seems like a hate crime, that should be highlighted as a priority to police and it should be investigated that way.”