The craven behavior of Sony Pictures and leading movie theater chains in preventing the scheduled release of “The Interview” on Christmas Day will cause incalculable damage. We have allowed the North Korean government to control what a country that values freedom as a hallmark of its formation is allowed to view in its movie theaters.

Many will not remember that in 1980, PBS broadcast a drama-documentary called “Death of a Princess” that detailed the killing of a Saudi Arabian princess for adultery.

The Saudi government promised economic sanctions if this was broadcast. Despite this, PBS showed the courage to air it anyway. To have done otherwise would have been to surrender to terrorism.

Now another autocratic regime, North Korea, has become the mouse that roared, and this time caused American companies to surrender to terrorism. Even more embarrassing, the terrorist is a psychopathic monster who delights in the oppression and starvation of his own people.

American corporations do not have the courage shown in 1980 by PBS and our country, which stood by our values of First Amendment freedom.

Now the fear of losing profits on other films because of a speculative idea that the public will be afraid of these thugs’ 9/11-style threats is justification for caving to North Korea. This will only encourage more of the same type of terrorism.

It is truly shameful for the world’s most powerful democracy to be humbled by the likes of Kim Jong-Un.

John Riley

Falmouth