President Obama said during his end of the year press conference that Sony made a mistake by pulling The Interview. The president explained that it was wrong to allow a dictator to impose censorship on the American people.
The president was asked if Sony made the right decision by pulling the Interview. He said that Sony is a private corporation who suffered losses due to the hack but that he thinks they made a mistake by pulling The Interview.
President Obama said,
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. In this interconnected digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in private assaults both in the private sector and in the public sector.
We can not have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States. Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary 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. So that’s not who we are that’s not what America is about.
Again, I am sympathetic that Sony as a private company was worried about liabilities, and this and that and the other. I wish they had spoken to me first. I would have told them do not get into a pattern in which you are intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks.
The president said that Boston still held their marathon the year after the bombing and that people don’t stop going to football games because there might be a terrorist attack. He said, “Let’s not get into that way of doing business.”
Obama put his finger on what rubbed so many people the wrong way about Sony’s decision to pull The Interview. Sony allowed the N. Korean government to impose censorship on the American people. Sony made a bad decision that set a terrible precedent. If the studio had talked to experts instead of panicking, they would have known that giving the hackers what they wanted was the worst decision that they could have made.
Obama certainly isn’t pulling any punches at his year end press conference.