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PIERS MORGAN: Hollywood’s self-censorship to appease the Beijing is shameful

There’s nowhere more ‘woke’ than Hollywood.

The self-righteous censorious bleating from that part of the world is so ferocious, unrelenting and aggressive that it’s a wonder anyone is deemed morally suitable enough to work there.

Those who do now live in constant abject terror of being canceled.

This week alone, there’s been an outpouring of abject apologies from actors who’ve fallen short of the ultra-strict new woke cop rules and are now gripped in a pitiful orgy of self-loathing and hand-wringing about everything they’ve ever said, written, done and performed.

Zoe Saldana tearfully apologised for not being black enough to play Nina Simone (what she SHOULD have apologised for was the dreadful movie itself which was one of Hollywood’s all-time box office turkeys), and Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively begged for forgiveness for getting married in 2012 at a South Carolina wedding venue which had once been the site of a plantation 150 years ago.

Ironically, top of woke Hollywood’s hate list is President Trump, a man who never says sorry, and who they deem to be the world’s worst sexist, racist, transphobic, authoritarian pig.

He is regularly trashed by actors on Twitter and red carpets and berated from awards show stages to raucous cheers.

The self-righteous censorious bleating from that part of the world is so ferocious, unrelenting and aggressive that it’s a wonder anyone is deemed morally suitable enough to work there. This week, Zoe Saldana tearfully apologised for not being black enough to play Nina Simone

Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone

The poster for Nina in which Zoe Saldana portrayed Nina Simone

What Saldana SHOULD have apologised for was the dreadful movie itself which was one of Hollywood’s all-time box office turkeys 

That is entirely their prerogative because America is a democracy with the First Amendment to the Constitution strongly protecting an individual’s right to free speech whether you’re famous or not.

But what do you think would happen if the same actors all lived in China and spoke that way about President Xi?

We all know the answer.

China is a totalitarian state that doesn’t tolerate such dissent.

There’s no such thing as free speech in China.

In fact, your speech can cost you your liberty.

Stars who tried to abuse the Chinese president in public like Hollywood actors abuse Trump would very swiftly find their acting careers summarily ended, and prison warders would be the only audience they would ever see again.

So, you might imagine that Hollywood would be among the very loudest voices in criticising China which has an appalling record on human rights, and is rife with racism, bigotry and rampant anti-LGBT homophobia – all the things liberals profess to despise.

But no.

Ironically, top of woke Hollywood's hate list is President Trump, a man who never says sorry, and who they deem to be the world's worst sexist, racist, transphobic, authoritarian pig. He is regularly trashed by actors on Twitter and red carpets and berated from awards show stages to raucous cheers

Ironically, top of woke Hollywood’s hate list is President Trump, a man who never says sorry, and who they deem to be the world’s worst sexist, racist, transphobic, authoritarian pig. He is regularly trashed by actors on Twitter and red carpets and berated from awards show stages to raucous cheers

Stars who tried to abuse Chinese President Xi Jinping in public like Hollywood actors abuse Trump would very swiftly find their acting careers summarily ended, and prison warders would be the only audience they would ever see again

Stars who tried to abuse Chinese President Xi Jinping in public like Hollywood actors abuse Trump would very swiftly find their acting careers summarily ended, and prison warders would be the only audience they would ever see again

The extraordinary, shocking truth is that Hollywood isn’t just silent in its critiques of the Chinese Communist Party, it is now actively stifling its own freedom of speech to appease them.

A devastating 94-page report from non-profit literary and human rights group PEN published this week reveals the pathetic lengths US movie studios are going to in a desperate ‘effort to avoid antagonizing Chinese officials’.

These include editing of dialogue, plot and casting.

In the damning document, titled Made in Hollywood, Censored by Beijing: The US Film Industry and Chinese Government Influence, PEN lists a number of examples of censorship.

In Marvel’s 2016 movie Dr Strange, a significant Tibetan character’s role is whitewashed out and replaced by Tilda Swinton as a Celtic.

In Top Gun 2, a Taiwanese flag that appeared on Tom Cruise’s flight jacket in the first movie mysteriously disappears in trailer flashbacks.

In Bohemian Rhapsody, references to Queen frontman Freddie Mercury’s sexuality were removed from the version screened in China.

In Marvel's 2016 movie Dr Strange, a significant Tibetan character's role is whitewashed out and replaced by Tilda Swinton as a Celtic

In Marvel’s 2016 movie Dr Strange, a significant Tibetan character’s role is whitewashed out and replaced by Tilda Swinton as a Celtic

Benedict Wong plays Wong in Dr Strange

Benedict Wong plays Wong in Dr Strange

In Top Gun 2, a Taiwanese flag that appeared on Tom Cruise's flight jacket in the first movie mysteriously disappears in trailer flashbacks

In Top Gun 2, a Taiwanese flag that appeared on Tom Cruise's flight jacket in the first movie mysteriously disappears in trailer flashbacks

In Top Gun 2, a Taiwanese flag that appeared on Tom Cruise’s flight jacket in the first movie mysteriously disappears in trailer flashbacks

It’s bad enough that Beijing’s thought police have sought to control what movie content is aired inside their own country.

But what makes these new revelations even more disturbing is that they show how China is now subliminally controlling what content is aired in the rest of the world too.

PEN’s report exposes how nervous Hollywood chiefs are so keen not to potentially upset the Chinese that they are self-censoring to guarantee favourable treatment in terms of better release dates and advertising arrangements.

Some studios, the report claims, have even invited Chinese government regulators onto movie sets to advise on ‘how to avoid tripping the censors’ wires’ including on Marvel’s Iron Man 3.

The disturbing trend was attacked by US attorney general William Barr last month when he raged against Hollywood for being ‘all too willing to collaborate with the Chinese Communist Party.’

PEN, an organisation that has sued President Trump for his attacks on journalists and published an open letter attacking him for his 2017 visa ban on seven Muslim countries, supports Barr’s belief, saying the US movie industry ‘enjoys a reputation as a place uncowed’ by its own Government and is ‘often gleefully willing to speak truth to American political power’ – but takes the opposite approach when dealing with the Chinese government.

All of which begs the obvious question: why is Hollywood behaving in such an obscenely cowardly, sycophantic manner?

Simple: China is now the second biggest movie market in the world after the United States, with American films raking in $2.6 billion in China last year.

And with the pandemic causing horrendous damage to the US movie business, China will very likely become No1 by the end of this year making it Hollywood’s biggest and most powerful paymaster.

Given that Covid-19 emanated from China, and was reportedly covered up by the regime for a scandalously long time, this seems a particularly inappropriate time to be cow-towing to the same authorities responsible for failing to contain the worst global pandemic for 100 years that has caused such appalling loss of life and economic damage.

It’s also pathetically hypocritical.

Hollywood’s twisted morality was laid bare by the Harvey Weinstein scandal where stars like Meryl Streep queued up to say how disgusted they were by the man they called ‘God’, whilst continuing to support fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski.

Black British actor John Boyega's character was notably smaller in the Chinese poster for the 2015 Star Wars film

Black British actor John Boyega’s character was notably smaller in the Chinese poster for the 2015 Star Wars film

Marvel Studio's Chinese-version of the 2013 release is noted in the report for a jarring plot device where Chinese doctor's try to save Iron Man's life. The report claims that the film's producers 'bent over backwards to maximize its chances of approval in China.' The film's producers had substantial financial backing from Beijing-based film producer DMG, the report says, and parts of the film were shot in Beijing which 'also allowed Chinese regulators to visit the set and to "advise" on creative decisions'

In 2013, Paramount Studio bosses allegedly demanded that dialogue be removed from Brad Pitt's apocalypse film when characters were discussing how the virus had originated in China. In the movie's source novel, China is specified as the country from which the zombie outbreak originates. A Paramount exec who spoke to The Wrap, admitted that the reason for the change to movie had been down to the studio's desire to pass China's review process

Movies which the report says have been artistically compromised by the communist paymasters include Iron Man 3 and World War Z 

Now the same stars who scream loudest about President Trump are the most silent about China as it exerts its sinister influence over what we see in movies.

‘Our biggest concern is that Hollywood is increasingly normalizing preemptive self-censorship in anticipation of what the Beijing censor is looking for,’ said James Tager, PEN’s deputy director of free expression policy and research and the report’s author.

What an absolute disgrace.

One of the few heroes to emerge from the findings is director Quentin Tarantino whose 2019 smash hit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was yanked from China’s movie release schedule one week before release because it had an ‘insufficiently heroic depiction of Bruce Lee’.

Tarantino, the report says, refused to recut the film to appease China’s National Film Administration, so it wasn’t released in China.

Good for Tarantino, but this should be how every Hollywood executive responds to such terrible attempts at such crude attempts at censorship.

One of the few heroes to emerge from the findings is director Quentin Tarantino whose 2019 smash hit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was yanked from China's movie release schedule one week before release because it had an 'insufficiently heroic depiction of Bruce Lee'

One of the few heroes to emerge from the findings is director Quentin Tarantino whose 2019 smash hit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was yanked from China’s movie release schedule one week before release because it had an ‘insufficiently heroic depiction of Bruce Lee’

Tarantino, the report says, refused to recut the film to appease China's National Film Administration, so it wasn't released in China

Tarantino, the report says, refused to recut the film to appease China’s National Film Administration, so it wasn’t released in China

I don’t want to hear any more actors bang on about the importance of ‘speaking truth to power’, ‘free speech’ and ‘tolerance’ if they’re not prepared to say it about China with the same enthusiasm that they say it about Trump.

And I particularly don’t want to hear their whining about Trump’s damage to democracy if they’ve appeared in any of the movies censored by Beijing’s bullies.

Let’s be very clear: China makes Trump look woke.

It is time woke Hollywood hypocrites woke up, stopped grovelling to censoring communists, and put free speech above commercial greed. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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