Director Oliver Stone called NSA surveillance leaker Edward Snowden a "hero" at the 16th Shanghai International Film Festival in China on Monday.
Responding to an audience member who accused the United States of "eavesdropping on the world," Stone responded, "Snowden is a hero," according to The Hollywood Reporter
The controversial director then began a discussion of the recent revelations of Snowden, a contract employee of the National Security Agency who spilled secrets on how the government collects data on its citizens' communications. Snowden has taken refuge in Hong Kong
and has said he will fight extradition.
Stone also praised WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and jailed whistleblower Bradley Manning. But he had harsh words for President Barack Obama's administration, which has prosecuted six whistleblower cases after he campaigned on a more open White House.
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Raymond Zhou, a film critic for the state-owned China Daily, was acting as moderator and repeatedly tried to rein Stone back on topic and away from politics.
"Mr. Stone, you sound like one of China's angry young men," Zhou said.
Stone defended films that are critical of authority, but warned against needless violence.
"Movies that glorify war give permission to the leaders to make war," he said. "In 2013, we simply cannot allow war to exist. No war on drugs, on terrorism, poverty, or immigration. It does not work."
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