Earlier this week, Sony made the controversial call to cancel the release of its North Korea-set comedy The Interview over terroristic threats made by hackers. In a press conference today, President Obama called Sony's decision a "mistake."
"Sony is a corporation," said President Obama. "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."
"We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States," he continued. "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 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 someone whose sensibilities probably need to be offended. That's not who we are. That's what America is about."
"Again, I'm sympathetic that Sony, as a private company, is worried about liabilities, and this, and that, and the other," Obama continued. "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.'"