Previously, Disney threatened to end filming in the state of Georgia after it passed a law in May 2019 banning abortion when a doctor detects a heartbeat from the fetus. Disney CEO Bob Iger said that it would be “very difficult” for the media corporation to continue filming in Ga. if the law takes effect.
The state offers a tax credit that has encouraged many film and TV productions, which Disney took advantage of when it filmed the movies Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame there. However, Disney’s threat to stop filming in Ga. shows the company flexing its corporate muscle to undermine the democratic process.
Arizona Sen. Tom Cotton pointed out Disney’s hypocrisy in a Sept. 9 tweet, saying that the company had “no problem” with filming in the middle of Chinese concentration camps but threatened Ga. for “passing a law protecting the unborn.”
This latest instance was not the first time the live-action Mulan, a remake on the 1998 animated movie, landed in hot water. Its lead actress Liu Yifei drew flak after she expressed support for Hong Kong police—who were accused of violence towards protesters in the special administrative region. Liu’s comments prompted calls to boycott the movie on Twitter using the #BoycottMulan hashtag.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong summed up a good reason not to watch the live-action Mulan film in a tweet. Patronizing the movie is tantamount to “turning a blind eye to police brutality and racial injustice” and being complicit in the inhumane imprisonment of Uighurs. (Related: Disney goes woke for Black Lives Matter – But kowtows to China’s racism, concentration camps.)
The film was eventually released Sept. 4 on the Disney Plus streaming platform after plans of a theatrical release were scrapped in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Disney’s refusal to acknowledge human rights abuses in Xinjiang where Mulan was being filmed, even thanking the local government bureaus responsible for imprisoning Uighurs in concentration camps, clearly shows it has sold out itself for a foothold in the mainland Chinese market.
Disney joins a number of corporations in America that have thrown away the values they originally stood for in order to gain access to Chinese customers. Once they have done so, they pander to the diktats of the Chinese authorities because they fear losing a big chunk of revenue from this profitable customer base.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is another notable institution that pandered to China in the name of profit.
When Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey expressed his support for Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters in an Oct. 2019 tweet, the NBA’s partners and sponsors in China were quick to react. Backlash at the Rockets and the NBA over the tweet included sponsors backing out of deals, Chinese sports brands suspending endorsements and exhibition games being cancelled.
In response, the NBA released a statement calling Morey’s tweet “regrettable” and acknowledged how it “deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China.” James Harden apologized on behalf of his manager and expressed appreciation towards the Rockets’ Chinese fan base.
Morey himself later apologized for the controversial tweet, but the damage had already been done. The league would have maintained its profitable relationship with China had Morey not tweeted his support of the Hong Kong protests – a sensitive topic in the country.
Companies such as Disney and the NBA definitely love their mainland Chinese customers, and their money even more – so why would democracy and Uighur lives matter if profits are at stake?
Find out more about companies pandering to China and its interests in the name of profit at Biased.news.