The ongoing feud between North Korea and the United States over the hacking of Sony Pictures took an ugly turn Saturday when a North Korean official compared President Barack Obama to a monkey and blamed the US for causing widespread internet outages in the reclusive country.
An unidentified spokesman for North Korea's National Defense Commission (NDC), the country's top governing body, said in a statement published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) that Obama was behind the release of Sony's controversial film The Interview, which depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by Western journalists. The statement called it "an illegal, dishonest and reactionary movie."
"Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest," the statement said. "If the US persists in American-style arrogant, high-handed and gangster-like arbitrary practices despite [North Korea's] repeated warnings, the US should bear in mind that its failed political affairs will face inescapable deadly blows."
The spokesman also claimed the US was responsible for a cyber attack that knocked the country almost completely offline early last week and has caused intermittent internet outages in recent days.
North Korea now claims the US government made 'The Interview.' Read more here.
North Korea's Internet restored after 9 hour, 31 minute outage: — Dyn Research (@DynResearch)December 23, 2014
North Korea continues its struggle to stay online: — Dyn Research (@DynResearch)December 23, 2014
"In actuality, the US, a big country, started disturbing the internet operation of major media of the DPRK, not knowing shame like children playing a tag," the statement said, using the initials for the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The US alleges that North Korea hacked Sony, leaking millions of sensitive documents and emails from the company in an attempt to derail the release of The Interview. After some uncertainty, the film was ultimately released Wednesday in some US theaters, and as a rental on YouTube and other online video platforms.
North Korea has steadfastly denied any role in the Sony hack, but has repeatedly claimed the US government had a hand in producing the The Interview, and vowed to retaliate.
The US said it would respond to the Sony hack, but has not taken responsibility for the recent cyber attack on North Korea. Many North Korean websites were knocked offline again Friday and early Saturday after [days of instability](http://Access to major North Korean websites remained unstable Friday for the fourth straight day).
North Korea has massive internet outage as Obama considers putting country back on terror list. Read more here.
After being up for 3+ days, North Korea suffers another country-wide Internet blackout at 10:42UTC: — Dyn Research (@DynResearch)December 27, 2014
North Korea has used racially offensive language in the past to describe Obama. In May, the KCNA published an extremely racist article that said the US president "still has the figure of monkey while the human race has evolved through millions of years." The article called Obama "a crossbreed with unclear blood," and said he should "live with a group of monkeys in the world's largest African natural zoo and lick the bread crumbs thrown by spectators."
According to the Associated Press, there was no immediate reaction from the White House on Saturday about the latest North Korean statement and allegations.
Follow Keegan Hamilton on Twitter: @keegan_hamilton