clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Obama says Sony made a mistake to pull The Interview

  1. Sony Pictures made a mistake when it shelved The Interview, President Obama said in a news conference.
  2. Sony pulled the movie after threats from hackers that the FBI has linked to North Korea.
  3. "We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States," Obama said.

"That's not who we are," Obama said.

"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," Obama said.

"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."

"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," Obama said. "I love Seth and I love James Franco, 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."

At the same time, Obama declared himself "sympathetic" to Sony's plight. "Sony's a corporation. It suffered significant damage," he acknowledged. "There were threats against its employees."

Obama underscored the FBI's finding that North Korea engaged in the attack.

He vowed that the United States would respond to the attack. He said the response would be "proportional," but declined to elaborate on the specific measures the US might take.

Update: I made minor changes to the Obama quotes in this article after double-checking the recorded version of his remarks.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.