Yes, again. Disney, the company that brought you childhood memories and happily-ever-afters, has once more proven that their priority is to appease the Chinese Communist government and maintain their financial interests, rather than standing up for their values and principles.
The latest example of this is the removal of an episode of The Simpsons from the Disney Plus streaming platform in Hong Kong. The episode in question, entitled “One Angry Lisa,” had the audacity to mention “forced labor camps” in China, and so it was deemed unsuitable for viewing by the delicate sensibilities of the Communist regime.
It’s not as if this is a surprising move from Disney. In fact, it’s become somewhat of a pattern for the company. Back in 2019, Disney CEO Bob Iger openly admitted that the company would stay mum about the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests. Speaking at the WSJ Tech Live conference, Iger stated, “What we learned in the last week — we’ve learned how complicated this is. The biggest learning from that is that caution is imperative. To take a position that could harm our company in some form would be a big mistake.”
Translation: We don’t want to risk losing money, so we’ll keep quiet and pretend that human rights abuses aren’t happening right under our noses.
Of course, this censorship is believed to have more to do with Disney’s ties and future prospects in mainland China, as stated by Kenny Ng, associate professor at the Academy of Film at Hong Kong Baptist University. This is evident in the controversy surrounding Liu Yifei, the star of Disney’s live-action “Mulan,” who expressed support for the Hong Kong police force, leading to an anti-Mulan boycott.
But why let the truth get in the way of a good Disney movie, right?
Despite the Hong Kong government stating that its recent film censorship regime does not apply to streaming services, Disney continues to play it safe and avoid any political controversies in China. After all, they have invested a lot in the country, including their $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort, which opened in 2016.
It’s clear that Disney values money over morals. The saddest part is that this is not news anymore. It’s just another day in the life of a corporation that has sold its soul for profit.
So, the next time you’re ready to escape reality and enter the magical world of Disney, just remember: you’re not just supporting a company that creates fairy tales, you’re supporting a company that has actively chosen to ignore the harsh realities of the world and prioritize their bottom line. And that, folks, is the real fairy tale.