President Obama Says Sony “Made a Mistake” By Pulling ‘The Interview’
Just when you thought the story of the Sony cyber-attack and the cancellation of ‘The Interview’ couldn’t get any crazier, the President of the United States chimed in with his opinion on the matter. President Obama addressed the situation in a press conference earlier today, saying that while he’s sympathetic to Sony and the damage done to its employees, he believed the studio handled the situation the wrong way:
Sony’s a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against some of its employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced. Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake.
After all, this isn’t just a movie being scrapped from its release date: This is a movie being scrapped (possibly permanently) due to a North Korean plot. It’s literally an assault on the American film industry and the thousands of people who work in it. President Obama went on to explain his reasoning, and it’s perfectly sound: If we let one dictator tell us what we can or cannot watch, what’s to stop another from doing it in the future? Here’s his full statement:
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 news reports that they don’t like ... That’s not who we are. That’s not what America’s about.
Right wing or left wing, Seth Rogen fan or not (and President Obama also said he’s a fan of Rogen, so think about that for a second), that’s a sentiment that’s hard to argue with. America has been making juvenile comedies for years and no one, not even Kim Jong-un, has the right to tell us to stop!
UPDATE: Here’s Sony official response to President Obama’s comments. If that last paragraph is true, then ‘The Interview’ might yet live after all!
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.