Attorney General William Barr sharply criticized Hollywood on Thursday for what he called a “massive propaganda coup” in which Hollywood appeased China and secured access to its market by giving the Communist Party a massive “propaganda coup.”
Barr made the remarks during a speech at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences annual meeting in Washington, D.C., and used part of his speech to attack studio practices while singling out other industries like Silicon Valley as pawns in Chinese influence.
In his speech, Barr said Hollywood actors, producers, and directors are proud to celebrate freedom and the human spirit, but that at this year’s Academy Awards they spoke about how the country is falling short of Hollywood’s ideals of social justice. Yet Hollywood censors its own films to appease the political and religious interests of the Hollywood elite and the media, not the American people. The censorship infects films released in China, many of which are shown to American audiences in U.S. cinemas.
In February, President Donald Trump blamed China for the Ebola outbreak in the United States and offered no explanation for where the outbreaks originated or why they spread. B’s attack on the film industry has some Republicans in Congress, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who in May passed a law restricting studios “ability to alter films to circumvent China’s censors and gain access to the country’s lucrative market. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. John Conyers (D-MI), and others.
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Studios often cut movies to gain access to lower ratings, such as “The Hunger Games” and “Daredevil,” but the editing occasionally gets significant attention. The Motion Picture Association responded immediately, but only after a brief statement from the Los Angeles district attorney’s office.
Barr cited two examples in his speech: the films “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “The Hunger Games” and the most recent film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
One of those was Paramount’s World War Z, in which he quoted Paramount asking producers to edit evidence of a virus from China in the hope of concluding a “Chinese distribution deal,” Barr said, adding that the deal never materialized. He also quoted Marvel Studios doctor Dr Strange, in which he claimed that the filmmakers had changed the nationality of the main character from a Tibetan monk to a Celtic. When asked, the screenwriter said,
“If you acknowledge that Tibet is a place, and then you’re Tibetan, then we risk alienating a billion people, no matter what the Chinese government says, they won’t show the film because we decided to become political,” Barr said. Many scripts are born because writers and producers don’t know how to push the boundaries, and they don’t need to say a word because Hollywood does their job for them, “Barr said.
B added that “there is no place for censorship in the United States, not even in a country with a history of human rights violations,” and that “there are many more examples of censorship than films. As China has become the world’s biggest box office hit, the ruling Communist Party should have had a strong hand in controlling market access, he said.
He also said that Hollywood is increasingly reliant on “Chinese money to finance” and that films by Chinese investors accounted for only 1.5 percent of total US film industry revenue in 2015, compared with about 10 percent in the US and about 20 percent in China. Compared to the restrictions on Chinese film quotas and the Chinese film quotas that China uses to force US studios into joint ventures, Barr said that the People’s Republic of China, like other Chinese industries, may be more willing to work with Hollywood than ultimately replace it.
This article was initially published on Yahoo News