In a proposal that is sure to be discouraged by our new president, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said last week that he wants the federal government to ban China from investing money in the U.S. entertainment studios and force Hollywood studios to deconstruct their partnerships with the Chinese. The move would give American filmmakers the liberty to make movies without Chinese influence, Cotton said in a speech, and it would free American moviegoers from being subjected to thinly-veiled Chinese propaganda.
“We need to beat this evil empire and consign the Chinese Communists — just like the Bolsheviks — to the ash heap of history,” he said.
In a report documenting the extent to which the CCP has infiltrated the industry, Cotton said it was past time for the U.S. to intervene.
“The United States must realize that culture and information are battlefields in the competition with China,” Cotton wrote. “To that end, America must ensure that Hollywood can produce its content free of malign foreign influence and that the CCP has no control over what Americans can watch.
“As such, the federal government should ban Chinese investment in U.S. studios and streaming services,” he continued. “U.S. entertainment companies should divest from Chinese sources and dissolve existing joint ventures. The government should also prohibit Chinese investment in platforms that show movies and TV shows in the United States, such as movie theater companies and cable and broadcast television providers. Assuming that AMC Theatres survives the pandemic, the government should require it to separate from Dalian Wanda.”
Hollywood has been making a fortune through letting Chinese investment in the door, but there have been multiple high-profile examples of this partnership having a real impact on both content and decision-making. Disney, which pulled productions out of Georgia when the state tried to pass an anti-abortion law, felt no compunction about pumping money into Beijing with the filming of Mulan. Apparently, it’s more important that abortion remain unrestricted than it is that Uighurs stay out of concentration camps.
“Entertainment executives must understand that the CCP, while a profitable partner in the short term, is ultimately hostile to their freedom and creativity,” Cotton wrote. “They must be willing to face down this threat, as brave artists have done with past totalitarian regimes, by placing their ideals ahead of their short-term financial interests.”
Well, they’re not going to do it on their own.