Obama on Sony Hackers: ‘I Wish They Had Spoken to Me First’

U.S. President Obama listens to Britain's PM Cameron speak during the U.N. Security Council meeting in New YorkAlthough this headshot of our president was not made for the Sony Pictures ballyhoo (shout out to Reuters), he was probably looking like this when he got the word that the mighty U.S.A. had kowtowed to the dude with the jacked-up haircut from North Korea.

You see, a president of this country should never take the back seat to anyone, let alone someone who disappeared for 40 days and convinced an entire country that he was on vacation.

So, Mr. President, we feel you.

The whole hack job aversion to halt The Interview would have our knickers in a twist…if we didn’t think the whole thing was ridiculous (from a PR standpoint) in the first place. Turns out that Obama is quite concerned that Sony Pictures didn’t consult him first.

Because he’s the president…that’s why! 

He had his festive year-end news conference today. Policy? New laws? The renewed budget? Nah, people wanted to talk Hollywood, and that’s when Obama said this, according to USA Today:

“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 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.”

Interview-posterSure, cybersecurity. Yes, advanced technology. This is North Korea, whose guy may well push a big red button because he doesn’t like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This “threat” was all about fear — make no mistake — but Obama is less scared than pissed.

“They caused a lot of damage and we will respond,” Obama said, though he said he would not discuss what that response might entail.

The one thing that’s clear is that this event really did set a nasty precedent — if you don’t like our entertainment, wait a while and make some threats and we’ll bow under pressure. We live in a capitalist society, and our big bald eagle will poop all over your windshield whether you like it or not.

The premise of the movie was flawed from a PR point-of-view, but if this “response” isn’t something that we can all get behind, there may be more issues there than the hurt pocketbooks of a bunch of rich people who double as casual racists in their spare time.

What would your response be?

Publish date: December 19, 2014 https://stage.adweek.com/digital/obama-on-sony-hackers-i-wish-they-had-spoken-to-me-first/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT