President Obama and George Clooney speak out against Sony canceling the
President Obama and George Clooney are calling it: Sony‘s falling victim to cyber-terrorism and canceling The Interview isn’t just about hackers taking down a raunchy comedy. It’s about terrorists winning against the U.S. and effectively compromising the country’s freedom of speech.
During his end-of-the-year press conference, Obama called Sony’s decision to pull the film a mistake and addressed what this forced censorship could mean for the future of storytelling through filmmaking, stating: 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…We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States, because if someone 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. 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’s about.
In an exclusive interview with Deadline, Clooney echoed the President’s statement saying: This is a silly comedy, but the truth is, what it now says about us is a whole lot. We have a responsibility to stand up against this. That’s not just Sony, but all of us, including my good friends in the press who have the responsibility to be asking themselves: What was important? What was the important story to be covering here? The hacking is terrible because of the damage they did to all those people. Their medical records, that is a horrible thing, their Social Security numbers. Then, to turn around and threaten to blow people up and kill people, and just by that threat alone we change what we do for a living, that’s the actual definition of terrorism.