Cruz blasts “complicit” Hollywood for censoring films at the will of China

Appearing with Judge Jeanine Saturday, Ted Cruz warned he sees China as the “single-great political threat”  to the United States.

“China is in my judgment the single-greatest political threat the United States faces over the next century,” he said. “They engage in espionage. They engage in censorship. They engage in torture and murder of their own citizens. They cover up free speech.”

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joined “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Tuesday to discuss a bill he drafted that would prevent the Pentagon from cooperating with movie studios who censor their productions to appease Chinese authorities.

Before Cruz joined the program, host Tucker Carlson reported that in the forthcoming feature “Top Gun: Maverick,” the Taiwanese flag has been removed from the jacket worn by Tom Cruise’s titular character so the film is not prevented from reaching the Chinese market.

“The problem with China generally is enormous, and I think this should be a wake-up call to the entire world; this pandemic that is playing out,” Cruz said. “And when it comes to Hollywood, Hollywood is not an innocent bystander here. Hollywood is fully complicit, Hollywood works with the Chinese censors — Hollywood has been willing over and over again, there’s so much money at stake.”

Cruz then turned to the sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun,” which he described as the greatest U.S. Navy recruitment film of all time.

“They didn’t just change the Taiwanese flag, they also removed the Japanese flag,” he said. “Both of them were on the back of Maverick’s jacket and the studios didn’t want to tick off the Chinese censors so they pulled it down.

From Ted Cruz’s website:

April 28, 2020

HOUSTON, Texas – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today announced his intention to introduce the “The Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, Protecting Talkies Act” or SCRIPT Act, legislation cutting off Hollywood studios from assistance they receive from the Department of Defense if those studios censor their films for screening in China. This legislation is part of Sen. Cruz’s comprehensive push to combat China’s growing influence over what Americans see and hear, which includes legislation targeting information warfare from the Chinese Communist Party across higher education, sports, films, radio broadcasts, and more.

Upon announcing the legislation, as reported by Politico, Sen. Cruz, said:

“From buying media outlets to broadcast propaganda into America to coercing Hollywood studios and sports leagues to self-censor by threatening to cut off access to one of the biggest markets for sports and entertainment in the world, the Chinese Communist Party spends billions and billions of dollars to mislead Americans about China and shape what our citizens see, hear, and think. All of these activities are part of China’s whole-of-state approach to amass more influence around the world through information warfare – and we need to put a stop to it.

“For too long, Hollywood has been complicit in China’s censorship and propaganda in the name of bigger profits. The SCRIPT Act will serve as a wakeup call by forcing Hollywood studios to choose between the assistance they need from the American government and the dollars they want from China.”

Background:

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It is common for major Hollywood action films to contract with the Pentagon to use U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) assets, such as jets, tanks, or naval bases, for example. The SCRIPT Act prohibits the DoD from providing technical assistance or access to assets for U.S. companies that censor their films for screening in China, specifically prohibiting 1) assistance to any film unless the filmmakers promise not to censor the film and 2) assistance to any film that’s coproduced with a Chinese company subject to Chinese censorship, 3) assistance to studios that have recently censored their films to gain access to China’s market.

Last week, Sen. Cruz announced legislation to prevent the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from exploiting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) loopholes to propagandize to Americans from radio stations in Mexico or Canada, including through stations entangled with Chinese state-owned media outlets such as Phoenix TV.