During his end-of-year press conference today, President Barack Obama said he believes that Sony made a “mistake” in halting the release of their film The Interview, after they came under attack from hackers now linked to North Korea.
“Sony’s a corporation. It suffered significant damage, there were threats against its employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced. Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake,” he said, adding that he wished Sony had spoken to him first. “I would have told them, do not get into a pattern in which you are intimidated by these kind of criminal attacks.”
During the conference, Obama said: “We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States, because if someone 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. 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’s about. ”
When asked if he would be watching The Interview, Obama said, “I’ve got a long list of movie’s I’m going to be watching. I never release my full movie list.” Later on, Obama got some laughs when he brought up actors Seth Rogen and James Franco, whom he mistakenly called “James Flacco.”
“I think it says something interesting about North Korea that they decided to have the state mount an all out assault on a movie studio because of a satirical movie starring Seth Rogen and James Flacco [sic],” Obama said. “I love Seth and I love James, but the notion that that was a threat to them, I think, gives you some sense of the kind of regime we’re talking about here.”