Barack Obama addressed the nation today in his annual year-end press conference, where he commented on Sony Pictures' decision to cancel the release of their comedy The Interview, in the aftermath of the cyber attack that was perpetrated by North Korea. The President stated that he thinks Sony made a mistake by canceling the comedy's theatrical release on Christmas Day, adding that he wished the studio would have consulted with him before making the decision. Here's part of the President's statement from the press conference below.
"We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace 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 that they don't like, or a news report 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 is about. Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage, threats against some employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns they faced. Having said that, yes I think they made a mistake. That's not what America is about. I wish they'd 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.' We can't start changing our patterns behavior any more than stop going to football game because might be possibility of terrorist attack. Let's not get into that way of doing business. I love Seth (Rogen) and I love James (Franco), but the notion that it was a threat to them give you some sense of kind of regime we're talking about here."
Barack Obama later added that the United States will, "respond proportionally" to the attack, "at a place and time we choose." The FBI confirmed today that North Korea was responsible for the massive hack, which resulted in the leaks of internal Sony documents, emails and unreleased films such as Annie and Still Alice. The President would not elaborate on the nature of the U.S. retaliation.
The President's statement comes just hours after the revelation that the hacker group G.O.P. issued another ultimatum to Sony Pictures, that The Interview must never be released in any way shape or form, including DVD and pirated versions. However, a contradictory statement, allegedly from the G.O.P., revealed that Sony could now release The Interview, but only if they removed the Kim Jong-Un death scene that was leaked yesterday. What do you think about Barack Obama's statement? Chime in with your thoughts below.