President Obama thinks Sony is a bunch of wusses for pulling the plug on The Interview — and he also apparently doesn’t know who James Franco is.
In a press conference Friday, the president spoke about the Sony hack and the studio’s response to the terrorist actions and threats a group calling themselves the Guardians of Peace (since determined to be acting on behalf of the North Korean government) made against them — and seriously, guys, this is America. Get it together.
“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 like Seth… but thinking that was a threat to them? That gives you an impression of what kind of regime that is.”
From now on, everyone call him James Flacco, please.
Obama said he understands that Sony was just trying to protect its employees and its own bottom line, but they are missing the bigger picture.
“Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There are threats against its employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced,” Obama said. “Having said all that: yes, I think they made a mistake.
“I am sympathetic,” he later added. “Sony is a private company worried about liabilities. 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 kind of criminal attacks.’ Imagine if instead of a cyber-threat, someone had broken into their offices and destroyed a bunch of computers and stolen discs. Is that what it takes for suddenly you to pull the plug on something?
“If somebody is going to be able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what will happen when they see a documentary they don’t like,” Obama said, echoing the opinions of multiple celebs on the matter. “And imagine what will happen when producers start engaging in self-censorship so that they don’t offend the sensibilities of someone whose sensibilities probably need to be offended.
“We anticipate, occasionally there will be breaches like this,” Obama said. “They will be costly. They will be serious. But we can’t start changing our patterns of behavior any more than we can stop going to a football game because there’s a possibility of a terrorist attack… Let’s not get into that way of doing business.”
Oh, and BTW North Korea, you’re in deep doo-doo: the prez says you’ll get yours.
“We will respond,” Obama promised. “We will respond proportionately and in a space, time and manner that we choose.
“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship in the United States… Americans cannot change their patterns of behavior due to the possibility of a terrorist attack,” he said. “That’s not who we are, that’s not what America is about.”
The Guardians of Peace beg to differ. In a message sent to certain Sony employees, they said in broken English, “Very wise to cancel The Interview it will be very useful for you. We ensure the purity of your data and as long as you make no more trouble. Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy.”
Neither Rogen nor Flacco — erm, Franco — have yet commented on Sony’s decision to cancel the film’s release.