Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) accused Hollywood of being “complicit in China’s censorship and propaganda in the name of bigger profits.” He has legislation that would prevent the Pentagon from working with film studios working to accommodate the censorious demands of the Chinese state.
The legislation, called “The Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, Protecting Talkies Act” (SCRIPT Act), would ban the Department of Defense (DOD) from providing assistance to film studios that censor their films to accommodate the Chinese Communist Party.
“The SCRIPT Act will serve as a wake-up call by forcing Hollywood studios to choose between the assistance they need from the American government and the dollars they want from China,” said Ted Cruz, who is one of Congress’s most reliable anti-communist hawks, in a statement.
Although not well known, cooperation between the DOD and Hollywood has been a regular occurrence for the past 100 years, with the Pentagon regularly providing access to military facilities and equipment, as well as consulting services from many of their military experts. According to The Independent, the DOD has had a hand in over 800 movies since 1917, including major titles such as Iron Man and The Terminator.
The move comes as leaders in Washington and around the world seek to tighten the noose around China’s communist regime for their role in covering up the coronavirus outbreak, a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands and sent the world’s economy into an unprecedented crash.
The crisis has also refocused attention on the country’s dire human rights record, creating a system of control and censorship practically indistinguishable from “Big Brother” in George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984.
Hollywood has long had an uncomfortably cozy relationship with China, which now represents the largest film market in the world. This relationship is demonstrated most regularly by film studio’s willingness to cut out or even edit content in their movies to accommodate the wishes of the Chinese Communist Party.
Cases of such editing censorship include Marvel shooting extra sequences featuring Chinese actors in Iron Man 3 to engage that country’s audience, as well as edits to the film adaptation of the book World War Z to ensure the film’s zombie outbreak did not begin in China.
Yet perhaps the most egregious example of Hollywood bowing to China was the 2012 remake of Red Dawn, where producers agreed to digitally remove every reference to the Chinese as the bad guys and replace them with North Koreans.