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Sen. Ted Cruz is taking aim at China by targeting Hollywood film studios that bow to the communist country’s censors.
The Texas Republican introduced a bill on Thursday recommending federal assistance be cut off to any of the major Hollywood studios that voluntarily self-censor their films in order to get their productions to be accepted in China.
(Source: Ted Cruz/YouTube)
Calling China “the single most dangerous geopolitical threat” facing America during his speech on the Senate floor Thursday, Cruz went on to propose the legislation aimed at blocking federal assistance to studios that choose to change characters, plot lines and more in order to get into the Chinese market.
Chinese officials “control not just what audiences see in China but also what Americans see.” Cruz said, warning that they want “to shape what Americans see, hear, and ultimately think.”
The “Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, Protecting Talkies Act,” dubbed the SCRIPT Act, seeks to block all federal agencies assisting in film productions that are altered for Chinese consumption. Government logos, military bases, federal buildings and even aircraft carriers are used by studios in producing content for their films.
Actor Tom Cruise in the upcoming movie “Top Gun: Maverick” was used as an example by Cruz who pointed out that Japanese and Taiwanese flags on his character’s jacket were missing in promotional images, likely bowing to Chinese preferences as Paramount’s partner in the film is Tencent Pictures, a subsidiary of the Chinese tech company.
“What message does it send that Maverick, an American icon, is apparently afraid of the Chinese communists?” the member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said. “That’s ridiculous.”
He also noted other instances of Chinese influence, noting changes in films like “Doctor Strange” as well as “Skyfall” and the “Red Dawn” remake, as references to Tibet, Taiwan and the topic of human rights were erased from the movies. He noted that in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the biopic about the rock band Queen, they “edited out references to the fact that Freddie Mercury was gay.”
Legislation that the senator originally announced last month applied only to assistance to studios from the Department of Defense but the revised bill includes a ban on participation by all federal agencies. Cruz wants the SCRIPT Act to serve as a “wake up call for Hollywood.”
“Studios would be forced to choose between the assistance from the federal government or the money that they want from China,” he said.
These bills are part of a larger endeavor to untangle the United States from China’s web and to hold the Chinese government accountable for hiding the truth about #coronavirus from the world and sparking a deadly and devastating pandemic. https://t.co/IS1Gl5RwtP
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 21, 2020
The Texas senator also introduced other bills targeting China, with the “Ending Medical Censorship and Cover Ups in China Act” aimed at penalizing Chinese government officials involved in medical cover-ups or censorship of journalists and political figures.
Cruz is also looking to close off loopholes in Federal Communications Commission regulations in the Blocking Evasive Attempts to Manipulate Signals Act.
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