“Did Russian hackers leak the Sherlock season four finale, too?” Vanity Fair asked on Tuesday. “The BBC is investigating, and a representative says ‘this is more than an accident,’” the magazine warned. The same day, The Daily Beast announced in an unambiguous headline, “Russians ‘hack Sherlock’ in war on BBC.”
A Russian-language version of the 90-minute Sherlock conclusion, “The Finale Episode,” appeared online on Saturday, a day before the program's planned Sunday night broadcast. In light of widespread suspicions that Russian hackers interfered in the U.S. presidential election last November, many in the Western media were quick to assume the worst about the state-owned television network Channel One, which currently owns the Russian broadcasting rights to Sherlock.
According to the TV station Dozhd, Channel One issued a press release on Thursday, admitting that one of its employees is responsible for the Sherlock leak, having broken the channel’s internal rules.
“We regret to say that one of our staff, without malice, violated our strict security protocol, allowing criminal negligence in the performance of their duties. As a result, the [video] file leaked online,” Channel One’s statement reads.
The Russian television network says it has tightened its security measures and apologizes to BBC Worldwide and Sherlock fans everywhere.