GENEVA — Brazilian author Paulo Coelho says the Sony hack threatens us all if society doesn't enforce important values against anonymous terrorists.
The best-selling author said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press that he was prepared to make himself an example — even if it meant inviting criticism and potential threats — if Sony Pictures had taken him up on his $100,000 offer for the rights to its cancelled film.
His plan was to release the film on his blog in the unlikely event Sony took him up on his spontaneous offer via Twitter for the controversial film "The Interview" that Sony cancelled after threats from anonymous hackers.
He acknowledged he would have been afraid if he had released the film, but he would have been more ashamed of himself if he didn't at least try.
"So live with fear or live with shame? Better to live with fear," he said at his luxury Geneva home, where his phone and Internet service were mysteriously out of service in what he considered to be an apparent attack.
Coelho, however, decried the "culture of fear" and apparent willingness to "negotiate with terrorists" that he said undercuts people's freedom of expression.
The author of "The Alchemist" says the studio ignored his offer and he was unable to reach any executives. The decision not to screen the film before a projected Dec. 25 release, he says, undermines people's right to information and the principle of not negotiating with terrorists.
He said he thinks the studio ignored his offer because of fear that more Sony hacked e-mails would be divulged.
Also on Friday, Sony defended its decision after President Barack Obama said during a press conference that the studio had "made a mistake" in dropping "The Interview." Sony said the cancellation happened only because the country's top theater chains pulled out. "This was their decision," Sony said in a statement.