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Judd Apatow Calls Out Hollywood Censorship in China: "They’ve Bought Our Silence with Money"


Expansive Ellipses
Staff Member
May 30, 2004

Judd Apatow is refusing to let Hollywood off the hook for allowing itself to be censored in international markets such as China in order to reap financial rewards. During a conversation with MSNBC’s Ari Melber on “Mavericks with Ari Melber,” Apatow criticized Hollywood for staying away from and/or cutting out content that is critical of certain countries in order to make money.

“A lot of these giant corporate entities have business with countries around the world, Saudi Arabia or China, and they’re just not going to criticize them,” Apatow said, “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 make so much money.”

Apatow added, “So while we’re going, ‘Can we say this joke, can we not say that joke,’ on a much bigger level, they have just completely shut down critical content about human rights abuses in China, and I think that’s much scarier.”

As an example, the “Knocked Up” and “King of Staten Island” director said studios would shoot him down if he ever pitched a movie about a man who escapes Chinese concentration camps, referring to the imprisonment of Muslim Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang province. Disney has recently come under fire for filming part of its live-action “Mulan” film in Xinjiang and using the film’s end credits to thank “the publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uighur Autonomy Region Committee.” Over one million Uighur Muslims have reportedly been detained in the region.

“Instead of us doing business with China and China becoming more free, what has happened is a place like China has bought our silence with their money,” Apatow said. “We do need a movie that says, ‘Hey people are being mistreated in North Korea,’ and so the aftermath of that might be, if you wanted to pitch that today, no one would ever consider that. But as a result of that, we never wake up our country or the world through art or satire that people are being mistreated in our country or other countries. So that’s very dangerous.”

In addition to censoring content, Hollywood studios have also included China-friendly content in certain films in order to guarantee a theatrical release in the country. Rian Johnson’s “Looper,” for instance, was famously rewritten to include China in its storyline so that the movie could bypass China’s strict foreign-film quota. When filmmakers take a stand against China (see Quentin Tarantino refusing to edit out the Bruce Lee scene in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”), their films are blocked from the country and risk losing a significant percentage of their box office. China is the second biggest box office market in the world after the U.S.



Apr 19, 2018
China is enemy #1 and if Biden gets elected we're going to be sold to them within 4 years.

To address the actual topic at hand, the problem isn't China censoring movies for their market. They are free to do that if they want and it isn't much worse than scenes being cut from movies to receive a certain rating, PG-13 instead of R for instance. The problem arises when Hollywood filmmakers censor their own movies so they can be shown in the Chinese market and it seems like that is happening more and more these days.

While I don't like Apatow and don't care for his movies, he's right. A movie about Chinese concentration camps would never be made, at least by a major studio.

The problem runs deeper than movies as we've seen with electronics companies and apps like Tik Tok that are little more than data collection devices for the Chinese government. The problem isn't helped by liberals suffering from TDS who will instantly defend a company like Tik Tok, just because President Trump is against them. Of course, that's what China wants. While liberals were REEEEing about Russia, China was using the situation to it's advantage to undermine the US Government far more than Russia could ever hope to do.

It's interesting to see a liberal stooge like Apatow finally waking up. Hopefully more follow.