Disney is once again coming under fire for its relationship with the Chinese government and what the Mouse House has attached itself to when it decided to film Mulan in an area of China where concentration camps are being utilized against Uighurs and other primarily Muslim minorities.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo) wrote a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, in which Hawley decries that the conglomerate has contributed to “whitewashing the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities during the production of Mulan.” You can read Hawley’s entire letter here.
As we have covered on this site before, Disney has been accused of being a tertiary supporter of the potentially genocidal acts taking place in the Xinjiang province of China. Mulan did some location shoots in the region and the credits of the film acknowledge the Chinese propaganda department that has masked any evidence of the crimes being committed.
The Chinese government is clearly not happy with the attention this controversy has brought to what is happening in Xinjiang. A ban on any media coverage on Mulan from major Chinese media outlets was instituted by the Chinese government. And it looks like Disney is going to be looking at a major flop since Mulan did terribly at the Chinese box office.
It is nothing but bad news for Disney when it comes to Mulan. Though reviews have been mixed-to-positive, the conversation continues to circle around this controversy. And with Disney having to abandon a theatrical release in the United States, the Mouse House decided to put Mulan on Disney+ as a Premium Access option for subscribers. Even if that release decision was successful, there is no question that Disney will be operating at a loss when it comes to Mulan.
Will this controversy continue to be the focal point for any discussion about Mulan? the movie itself was exceptionally uninteresting but the issues surrounding it are far more compelling and worth examining. Disney has been part of a larger movement to create movies that cater to what they believe Chinese audiences want to see. In doing so, they have found themselves embroiled in an issue that transcends movie politicking.
Is Hawley going to be joined by any other government voices when it comes to calling out Disney? The United States has restricted imports from the Xinjiang region in reaction to the news about the concentration camps. Are other reactions going to take place? And will Disney have to answer for their involvement in partially covering up these events?
The future of Hollywood productions and their relationship with China could possibly be dictated by how Disney responds to this controversy. If they try and sweep everything under the rug and business continues as usual, it could mean that the controversy eventually loses its potency. Hopefully, Disney will be forced to take meaningful action with their involvement in this issue and future productions will take note of the awful things they are becoming party to when they decide to shoot in China.