Come on Barbie, let’s go – Chinese Communist Party?
Warner Bros. says the whole notion is ridiculous, but a map depicted in the “Barbie” movie contains a crude version of the “nine-dash line,” showing China’s claims to a huge area of the Pacific Ocean south of China, has caused Vietnam to ban the film. The Philippines is considering doing the same.
Warner Bros., in a statement to Politico on Friday, said there were no geopolitics intended in “Barbie.”
“The map in Barbie Land is a child-like crayon drawing,” a spokesperson for the Warner Bros. Film Group said in the statement. “The doodles depict Barbie’s make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the ‘real world.’ It was not intended to make any type of statement.”
I spent part of the morning reply guying policy peoples questions about Vietnam banning the Barbie movie with the nine dash line map with this image of the map pic.twitter.com/oqJ91HJVUh
— Lmao gan ma (@rzhongnotes) July 3, 2023
The Barbie map allegations would have sounded ridiculous 20 years ago. But placement of material favorable to China in Hollywood productions has been on the rise for 20 years, and is getting more blatant and aggressive.
In a statement to Politico, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who chairs the select House panel aimed at countering the influence of China, said the map “illustrates the pressure that Hollywood is under to please CCP censors.”
“While it may just be a Barbie map in a Barbie world, the fact that a cartoonish, crayon-scribbled map seems to go out of its way to depict the PRC’s unlawful territorial claims illustrates the pressure that Hollywood is under to please CCP censors.”
Hollywood producer Chris Fenton, who serves an advisor to the House panel alongside Gallagher, noted that anticipating Chinese criticism has become the “new normal.” He also said it is “hard to believe” that the pro-China map was inadvertent, considering how much scrutiny studios give to anything involving China.
“There are no easy solutions for continuing market access (in China) while placing American priorities first,” said Fenton, a trustee of the U.S.-Asia Institute, adding that freedom of expression is the ultimate priority.
“I believe strongly that the U.S. government and the private sector can work together to curtail this First Amendment problem,” Fenton said.