Obama Says Sony Decision To Pull 'The Interview' Was A Mistake

20/12/2014 9:16 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
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WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 17: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the nation about normalizing diplomatic relations the Cuba in the Cabinet Room of the White House on December 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, over 50 years after they were severed in January 1961. In a prisoner exchange, U.S. contractor Alan Gross was freed after being held in Cuba since 2009 and sent to Cuba three Cuban spies who had imprisoned in the U.S. since 2001. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON: U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday said Sony Pictures "made a mistake" in pulling the satirical film "The Interview" after suffering a devastating cyberattack blamed on North Korea.

"I wish they (Sony) would have spoken to me first," Obama said at a news conference. "I would have told them, 'Do not get into a pattern in which you're intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks.'"

Obama made the remarks after the Federal Bureau of Investigation said North Korea was behind the cyberattack over the film about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Sony Corp unit canceled the Christmas Day release of the film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco after large cinema chains refused to screen due to unspecified threats by hackers.

Asked about Sony's decision, Obama said, "Yes, I think they made a mistake." He said Sony's decision sent a bad signal about self-censorship in the entertainment industry.

"We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States," the president said. "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 news reports that they don't like."

The hackers released embarrassing emails between Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin joking in a racially insensitive manner about Obama's film tastes.

Both Pascal and Rudin have publicly apologized.

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