State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki denied any similarity between the now canceled Sony film The Interview, which mocks North Korea’s supreme leader, and The Innocence of Muslims, a film the State Department officially condemned.
When Muslim protests in the Middle East were blamed on a micro-budget film that negatively portrayed Mohammad, the State Department officially denounced the film, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying, “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo declaring, “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” The department even went as far as buying airtime in the Middle East to air ads (see below) showing both President Obama and then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton slamming the film.
But apparently Sony’s’ The Interview—which not only portrays North Korea’s “Shining Sun” negatively but revolves around his assassination—is totally different. When word got out that the State Department gave their stamp of approval on the film (which the State Department now denies), the glaring inconsistency was too much for some in the media.
On Thursday, Psaki said that while department officials did meet with Sony executives during the production of The Interview, they did not actually give their official approval of the film (transcript via PJ Media):
We’re not in the business of signing off on content of movies or things along those lines. As we have — as we’ve noted before, entertainers are free to make movies of their choosing, and we are not involved in that.
When pressed about any comparisons between The Interview and the anti-Islam film—which the administration certainly got “involved” in—Psaki said she wouldn’t put the two films in the “same category”:
I would not put them in the same category, which I’m sure does not surprise you. We don’t have — it’s a fiction movie. It’s not a documentary about our relationship with the United — with North Korea. It’s not something we backed, supported or necessarily have an opinion on from here.