Judd Apatow is criticizing what he calls “corporate censorship” when it comes to highlighting abuses of power in China and Saudi Arabia, saying that Hollywood’s desire to do business there has prevented stories and truths from being told.
In a preview of a full interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber for a special called “Mavericks with Ari Melber,” the director of “The King of Staten Island” said that films, shows or documentaries get shut down at the pitch phase that are critical of foreign powers and that Hollywood’s major corporate entities often remain silent.
“They’re just not going to criticize them, and they’re not going to let their shows criticize them, or they’re not going to air documentaries that go deep into truthful areas because they just make so much money,” Apatow said. “So while we’re going, ‘can we say this joke, can we not say that joke,’ on a much bigger level, they have just completely shut down critical content about human rights abuses in China, and I think that’s much scarier.”
Apatow specifically mentioned saying if he were to write a movie about a man who escaped from concentration camps in China, referring to Muslim Uighurs who are being held in camps in northwestern China, no one would buy the pitch.
“Instead of us doing business with China and China becoming more free what has happened is a place like China has bought our silence with their money,” Apatow said. “We do need a movie that says, ‘hey people are being mistreated in North Korea, and so the aftermath of that might be, if you wanted to pitch that today, no one would ever consider that. But as a result of that, we never wake up our country or the world through art or satire that people are being mistreated in our country or other countries. So that’s very dangerous.”
Though he did not name a specific company in the interview, Apatow has previously on Twitter criticized Disney and Apple for not speaking up about these human rights injustices, including after Disney has been criticized by those online and by U.S. lawmakers for its Chinese release of “Mulan,” which in the credits thanks Xinjiang police for helping in the filming.
Check out the clip of Apatow’s MSNBC interview via Media-ite.