Oliver Stone praised NSA leaker Edward Snowden at the Shanghai International Film Festival today, calling the PRISM whistleblower a "hero." Stone responded to a comment from an audience member alleging the U.S. and the NSA were "eavesdropping on the world" by simply saying, "Snowden is a hero," before discussing the recent news, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Stone also giving praised WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and leaker Bradley Manning while criticizing the Obama administration for prosecuting six whistleblower cases despite promises of a more progressive approach. The Platoon and Natural Born Killers director was participating in a Master Class titled "How Does Film Have Its Influence on Real Life?" with Hong Kong director Johnnie To when he spoke out against the actions of the U.S.
Though the moderator tried to steer Stone away from political matters, the director ripped the Bush administration, the Iraq war and American imperialism and defended films that expose and criticize authority. But Stone also stressed that violence must be used carefully and responsibly.
"Movies that glorify war give permission to the leaders to make war," Stone said. "We create the myth and then we eventually believe it." He pointed to his recent documentary project The Untold History of the United States, saying discovering myths in U.S. history was a main motivating factor for the series. "In 2013, we simply cannot allow war to exist," Stone said. "No war on drugs, on terrorism, poverty or immigration. It does not work."