Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), being interviewed over the weekend, claimed that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is giving large sums of cash to Hollywood movie studios seeking to impose pro-communist propaganda and eliminate the image of Chinese playing the role of villains in movies.
Cotton’s comments were made in an interview with Breitbart at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) over the weekend, an event organized by the American Conservative Union (ACU).
During the interview Cotton said that in the Cold War, Hollywood studios regularly portrayed Soviet-aligned communists as the villain in movies. However, in current times Hollywood studios are not acting in the same way with CCP-linked villainous characters.
This attitude, according to Cotton, is not simply due to a change in the political ideology of producers, but is at least partly because the CCP is providing large sums of cash to Hollywood studios to impose a pro-communist, pro-China narrative.
“When was the last time you saw a Chinese bad guy in a movie?” Cotton said. “Back in the Cold War, Russian communists were always the bad guys. We would think Chinese communists would provide pretty good fodder for Hollywood, but you never see it.”
Even during the past few years, Hollywood has recast classic movie stories to reverse the roles of Chinese bad guys in order to appease the communist regime’s authorities. For example, Marvel Studios altered the character of “The Mandarin” in Iron Man 3, casting British actor Ben Kingsley in the role that was originally conceived as a Chinese villain.
Cotton also recalled the case of the movie “Top Gun 2,” “Tom Cruise had to take the Taiwan flag off of his bomber jacket because the Chinese objected. Why is that? Well, it’s partly because China provides so much money to Hollywood studios. It’s also because Hollywood wants access to the Chinese market,” Cotton said.
In February, Cotton unveiled a plan calling on the federal government to ban investments by the CCP in the U.S. entertainment industry. The plan also urges movie studios to dissolve their Chinese joint ventures.
“We need to beat this evil empire and consign the Chinese Communists—just like the Bolsheviks—to the ash heap of history,” he said in a speech at the Reagan Institute last month.
In October 2020, Chris Fenton, the former president of DMG Entertainment, published a book titled “Feeding the Dragon: Inside the Trillion Dollar Dilemma Facing Hollywood, the NBA, and American Business,” with empirical evidence on the influence of the CCP on Hollywood productions. In the book, he recounts his powerful experience dealing with the regime’s censors and critics.
Fenton, who produced more than 20 films as president of DMG Entertainment, states in his new book that CCP authorities are changing the American film production. Over the past 20 years, China has become a major growth market for Hollywood studios and its insertion has been getting stronger and stronger.
Fenton, being interviewed in VOA News, admitted to having realized that from his role as president of a powerful film industry firm, he was doing something detrimental to the United States and even to the world in general, by collaborating to give more influence or power to the CCP.
The Chinese Communist Party understood years ago that Hollywood is an excellent place to spread its pro-communist ideals, both because of the millions of consumers that Hollywood has around the world, and because of the ambition for money that reigns in the environment that facilitates the possibilities of investment in exchange for determined positions in the scripts and stories.