Barack Obama says that Sony made a mistake by cancelling its release of The Interview in the wake of threats against movie theaters. The president held a press conference earlier today, hours after the FBI announced that North Korea was responsible for the cyber-attack on the studio.
As The Wrap reports, Obama said, “Yes, I think they made a mistake..We can not have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship in the United States, because if somebody is able to intimidate us out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing once they see a documentary that they don’t like or news reports that they don’t like,” Obama said. “That’s now who we are. That’s not what America is about.”
Obama added, “We cannot start changing our patterns of behavior any more than we stop going to a football game because there may be a possibility of a terrorist attack…I wish they had 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.”
Sony issued a statement in response to President Obama’s comments, saying that the decision was not theirs, but instead that of the major theater chains. They stated that they are looking at potential alternatives and that “It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.”
Sony’s full statement is below:
Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment. For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees’ personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film The Interview released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.
The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film. This was their decision.
Let us be clear – the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it. Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.
After that decision, we immediately began actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform. It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.