Disney and #BoycottMulan Campaign: How Studios Must Adapt to Social Media Firestorms

“It’s unrealistic for studios to expect their employees — their stars — to simply fall in line and not speak out or voice their opinions on issues,”  crisis management expert Evan Nierman says

The #BoycottMulan movement began last month, after Chinese-born actress and star of Disney’s upcoming live-action “Mulan” Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, pledged support for Hong Kong police amid unrest in the region.

Liu’s comments on the Chinese social media platform Weibo and the conversation that has ensued in its wake is the most recent example of a studio needing to navigate tricky waters because of its blockbuster star.

Crisis management expert Susan Tellem, a senior partner at Tellem Grody Public Relations, said that as studios rely more on capturing the international marketplace — as with Mulan — the likelihood of stumbling into social and political dust ups increases with the cultural differences.

“I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong,” Liu posted on August 14.

The boycott from Hong Kong protestors and supporters erupted almost immediately. Twitter user @sdnorton said Liu, “pisses on people fighting for democracy.”


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Trey Williams

Film Reporter covering the biz • trey.williams@thewrap.com • Twitter: @trey3williams