Media mogul Barry Diller told CNBC on Thursday that Sony deserves sympathy for the hacking attack on its movie studio and for the way President Barack Obama called the company out at his December news conference.
"They were ... 'unheroically' banged by the president who didn't have the facts," Diller said in a "Squawk Box" interview.
At his year-end news conference, the president criticized Sony for the company's initial decision to pull the release of the movie "The Interview" amid threats of theater attacks by hackers.
Obama also said at the time that Sony should have called him before making that decision, because he would have told the company that it was setting a bad precedent by caving to hacker threats.
Diller, chairman of media and Internet company IAC/InterActive, called that request absurd, facetiously saying, "'Oh yes, I have a business decision to make—get the president.'"
While all this was going on, Sony was working behind the scenes on a digital release, Diller said. "I was working on it for our Vimeo service to be a digital release."
Sony did eventually reverse its decision and released "The Interview" on Christmas Day as planned, but in limited theaters and online for streaming.