Hollywood once fought fiercely for freedom of speech and against censorship. Indeed, those sanctimonious folks have never let us forget the McCarthy-era blacklist even though, at the time, communists really were infiltrating Hollywood.
While Hollywood eventually beat the blacklisting of the communists in its midst through appeals to the First Amendment, it has since retained that tactic and employed it against conservatives. Moreover, these days, Tinsel Town is arguably even more compromised than it was when Screen Actors Guild President Ronald Reagan was fighting that fight. It isn’t so much about communist infiltration, though. Communist China, in fact, has gotten Hollywood to do its bidding through a subtler and arguably “cleaner” method: the studios’ bottom line.
Why has China’s influence worked, and why has it gone undetected and unopposed for so long? Because the communist country and its 1.4 billion inhabitants present a massive market for any business — more than four times that of the United States. If only 3% of China’s population buys a movie ticket, that’s 42 million more fannies in the seats. Just think about how that can improve a studio’s bottom line.
According to one site, the average movie ticket goes for $7 in China. That means those 42 million tickets bring in $294 million. Hollywood’s cut of that would easily cover production budgets for big films. (There’s a reason why actor Richard Gere hasn’t been in major studio productions for years — his advocacy for Tibet, which has been occupied for decades by the ChiComs.)
Since China has a very limited number of slots for foreign movies — only 34 per year — no studio wants to risk its shot at a lucrative spot in Chinese cinemas. So they comply. And Hollywood isn’t the only industry groveling for access. Look at the NBA, Silicon Valley, and just about anyone with a product to sell.
And so they remain silent about the barbaric treatment of Uyghur Muslims, the barbaric one-child policy that was in effect for decades, the routine human-rights violations, the interference in our 1996 presidential election (on behalf of Bill Clinton) via illegal campaign contributions, and even China’s aggression in the South China Sea. Tibet is never spoken of, even as China has kidnapped the 11th Panchen Lama. Those who cross China, like Gere, get the cold shoulder from the rest of Hollywood.
What’s to be done about this? Part of the problem is that we’re not dealing with overt infiltration. It can be said that China is simply exercising its power of the purse within a free market. For all the times grassroots Patriots have used boycotts to try to affect change, China is essentially doing the same, albeit with a boycott that can make or break a studio’s fortunes.
Our nation’s awakening caused by the ChiComs’ treachery regarding the Wuhan coronavirus is changing that to some degree, and a tell-all from one former Hollywood executive likely will add more details to this.
The ultimate answer, though, may involve American consumers simply telling Hollywood to choose between our money and theirs. And, perhaps, a little free-market competition of our own — say a new studio or a new broadcast network committed to telling the stories that a China-beholden Hollywood is afraid to tell.