In no uncertain terms, President Obama said he disagreed with Sony's decison to pull the comedy film "The Interview" from theaters.
The studio’s handling of the hack was the very first question White House press corps asked Obama at the annual "year-in-review" press conference, which makes clear that the cyber-attacks on Sony have transcended juicy leaks of gossip to become an issue of national and international importance.
“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States” Presideny Obama said in a tone that was stronger than some expected when answering a question about the hack of the studio. “Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don’t like, or a news report that they don’t like — or even worse, imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of somebody whose sensibilities probably need to be offended. That’s not who we are. That’s not what America is about."
“Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage, threats against some employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns they faced. Having said that, yes I think they made a mistake,” President Obama later said when asked if Sony had erred in not following through and releasing the film after a threat that was not deemed to be substantive was made on theaters that showed the film.
The threat caused both Sony and the theater owners to be worried about what might happen if an attack did result in response to the showing of the film.
While President Obama said he understood the fear, he felt giving in to it was wrong.
“That’s not what America is about", he said. "I wish they’d spoken to me first. I would have told them, ‘Do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks’.”
I sooo agree with President Obama here. This cannot stand
We cannot allow anyone to intimidate anyone - Hollywood producers or otherwise - into silence or self-censorship.
We cannot give in to fear.
What do the rest of you think?