WASHINGTON. A totalitarian giant is at war with those that in any way threaten its image. Especially those with international reach, like Hollywood. But more on that later.
Tentacles of the octopus
Last November, Marriott International announced that their computer servers were hacked and information on 500 million of its guests compromised. That information included credit card and passport data.
Initially, Marriott stayed mum as to the identity of the cyber culprit. That is, until the company issued an apology to the perpetrator: China. What did Marriott do to put itself in the crosshairs of Asia’s dictatorial giant? Its website deigned to imply that Marriott properties in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau are located in separate nations.
And so, the victim apologized to the thug:
“Marriott International respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We don’t support separatist groups that subvert the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We sincerely apologize for any actions that may have suggested otherwise.”
And America’s entertainment industry is equally obsequious in its dealings with China.
Virtue-signaling Hollywood’s China syndrome
When lazy Hollywood decided in 2012 to remake the 1984 film “Red Dawn,” a story about armed resistance by a group of young Americans to a US invasion by Soviet and allied countries, portions of the script leaked out.
The new villains, it turned out, were communist Chinese forces. Needless to say, China’s oligarchs are not pleased.
As the New York Times recounted:
“In the end, MGM spent $1 million digitally erasing evidence of the Chinese Army, frame by frame, and substituting in North Koreans instead… China wields enormous influence over how it is depicted in the movies Americans make and watch. It’s part of a broader push by the government to take control of its global narrative and present a friendlier, less menacing image of China to the world.”
Thrown under the bus
Back in 1993, while presenting the Academy Award for Best Art Direction, actor Richard Gere took his moment on the world stage to condemn a Chinese atrocity. He reminded the international viewing audience of “a horrendous, horrendous human rights situation there is in China, not only towards their own people but to Tibet as well.”
He asked then-Chinese dictator Deng Xiaoping to “take his troops and take the Chinese away from Tibet and allow people to live as free independent people again.”
Bob Rehem, then president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, told the Los Angeles Times:
“The show’s about movies, about people’s work in movies, about entertainment. It’s not supposed to be about political activities around the world no matter how much individually we might support any one of those causes.”
And no one was more upset than Oscar show producer Gil Cates, who added his consternation to that of Rehem’s:
“For someone who I invite to present an award to use that time to postulate a personal political belief I think is not only outrageous, it’s distasteful and dishonest.”
Today, the 69-year-old Gere says he hasn’t had a major studio gig in more than a decade, believing his name to be among China/Hollywood’s blacklist.
Hollywood’s courage on the cheap
Although #MeToo Hollywood eventually worked up the gumption to challenge pudgy perv and mega-producer, Harvey Weinstein, it’s far too timid to confront real totalitarians. Especially one that boasts the second largest movie market after the U.S.
This is an ironic state of affairs for an industry that in 2018 generated $43 billion in revenue. The same industry whose cliché-recycling, screenwriting hacks attack big-business for “putting profits above people.”
Hollywood will not criticize China, but oh that President Trump
And don’t expect any mention of China during the 91st Academy Awards ceremony on February 24. That’s because Hollywood’s perpetual, virtue-signaling glitterati have turned their attention inward and on soft targets.
Ad hominem attacks on President Trump will not result in physical or professional harm to those whose “brave,” tough-guy personas are reserved for the silver screen and televised award ceremonies.
Actor Robert De Niro may be older (75) than Richard Gere, but he’s still a gainfully employed actor. And staying in China’s good graces will keep it that way.
It’s a safe bet the subject of China’s evils will be as invisible at this year’s Academy Awards as its missing master of ceremonies.
Top Image: Chinese propaganda poster altered by the author.