Cruz Seeks to Block Pentagon From Helping Movie Studios That Alter Films for China

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.
April 29, 2020Updated: April 29, 2020

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he’ll introduce legislation that would block the Pentagon from cooperating with film studios that edit or alter their movies for audiences in China.

Cruz plans to introduce the measure, called “The Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, Protecting Talkies Act” (SCRIPT Act), once the Senate is back in session.

The bill forms part of Cruz’s plan to “combat China’s growing influence over what Americans see and hear, which includes legislation targeting information warfare from the Chinese Communist Party across higher education, sports, films, radio broadcasts, and more,” Cruz said in a statement.

“From buying media outlets to broadcasting propaganda into America to coercing Hollywood studios and sports leagues to self-censor by threatening to cut off access to one of the biggest markets for sports and entertainment in the world, the Chinese Communist Party spends billions and billions of dollars to mislead Americans about China and shape what our citizens see, hear, and think.”

The senator said these activities are “part of China’s whole-of-state approach to amass more influence around the world through information warfare,” and he’s calling for that to stop.

“For too long, Hollywood has been complicit in China’s censorship and propaganda in the name of bigger profits. The SCRIPT Act will serve as a wake-up call by forcing Hollywood studios to choose between the assistance they need from the American government and the dollars they want from China,” he said.

The Pentagon has a longstanding relationship with Hollywood and has worked with television and movie studios on films for nearly 100 years to accurately depict military stories and make sure sensitive information isn’t disclosed. Films the Pentagon has provided assistance on include James Bond film “Goldfinger,” “Apollo 13,” “Armageddon,” “Jurassic Park III,” “Top Gun,” and “Iron Man,” among many others.

A number of film studios often edit their movies before they’re aired in China in order to appease the Chinese regime’s strict censorship rules, which include restrictions on films deemed to undermine so-called social stability, stir up opposition to the law, endanger national security, or harm national dignity, as well as movies containing graphic nudity, sex, and violence.

For example, key scenes involving Freddie Mercury’s sexuality were either muted or removed from “Bohemian Rhapsody” when the movie aired in China last year, The Associated Press reported. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) also reedited its remake of the 1984 cult classic “Red Dawn” to depict the North Koreans, rather than the Chinese, as occupying the United States over concern about angering censors in China, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In a statement last week, Cruz also announced legislation to prevent Chinese media outlets from exploiting Federal Communications Commission rules to broadcast “propaganda” to U.S. audiences from radio stations in Mexico or Canada.

“China should not be able to set up shop in Mexico and blanket America with propaganda. Every year, the CCP spends billions of dollars purchasing news outlets and waging information warfare to extend the reach of its propaganda and whitewash the unflattering and politically inconvenient truths about its totalitarian regime,” Cruz said in the statement.

The Chinese Communist Party has also been widely criticized for its lack of transparency regarding the CCP virus pandemic.

As The Epoch Times has previously reported, CCP officials knew in November or early December that COVID-19 had appeared in Wuhan but chose not to share this vital information with the rest of the world. Chinese officials instead arrested those who tried to warn of the danger, including doctors and medical experts, and employed the regime’s rigorous censorship to prevent media coverage and to delete any mentions of it from social media.

As a consequence of the CCP’s actions, the virus has created a global pandemic that has killed more than 219,000 people and left economies devastated.