Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton told CNN that President Obama was just wrong for what he said Friday during a final press conference ahead of his 17-day Hawaiian vacation.
The company released a statement (below) hours after the remarks from Obama and Lynton got to work defending his company in a televised CNN interview.
“The president, the press and the public are mistaken as to what actually happened,” Lynton said.
“We do not own movie theaters,” he explained. The nationwide theaters are the ones that caved to the threats out of concern for the public.
“We have not caved, we have not given in, we have persevered, and we have not backed down. We have always had the desire to have the American public see this movie,” Lynton said.
Critical of how Sony Pictures handled the cyber threat from North Korea, President Obama told the press that he wished they had come to him for advice first.
Lynton rebuffed Obama in the CNN interview, saying:
“A few days ago, I personally did reach out and speak to senior folks at the White House and talked to them about the situation and actually informed them that we needed help.”
Statement from Sony Pictures:
Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment. For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees’ personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film The Interview released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.
The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film. This was their decision.
Let us be clear – the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it. Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.
After that decision, we immediately began actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform. It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.
You can read more here.
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