Director Judd Apatow slammed the U.S. film industry on Tuesday for what he termed the “censorship” of stories that highlight human rights abuses in China and other nations.
Apatow, a director of comedies including Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, made his comments after Disney released a live-action remake of Mulan that included scenes filmed in Xinjiang, where China is carrying out the mass internment and sterilization of Uyghur Muslims. Disney thanked Chinese government bodies involved in the repression of Uyghurs in the credits for the film.
The Chinese film market could overtake that of the U.S., and Disney’s Mulan remake, which cost $200 million to produce, was in part designed to make inroads into that market.
“A lot of these giant corporate entities have business with countries around the world, Saudi Arabia, China, and they’re just not going to criticize them and they’re not going to let their shows criticize them or they’re not going to air documentaries that go deep into truthful areas because they just make so much money,” Apatow told MSNBC. “So, while we’re all going, ‘can we say this joke or not say that joke?’ on a much bigger level, they’ve just completely shut down critical content about human rights abuses in China.”
Apatow added that “no one would buy the pitch” for a film about someone who escapes from a Uyghur internment camp, and other ideas critical of China would be scratched during the pitch phase. “Instead of us doing business with China and that leading to China becoming more free, what has happened is a place like China has bought our silence with their money,” Apatow said.
Apatow made similar remarks in an interview for the New Yorker published January 6, 2020, the same day that the New York Times published its first article on the new coronavirus.
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