Disney bows to China leadership, omits Simpsons Tiananmen Square episode from streaming in Hong Kong

Originally published at: Disney bows to China leadership, omits Simpsons Tiananmen Square episode from streaming in Hong Kong | Boing Boing


Disney and Xi are such scaredy-cats.


“One outta 714 ain’t bad!” said Disney.

usa simpsons


I thought Xi was a bear.
One who likes hunny, but still a bear.


…who is frightened by mysterious sounds (especially in blustery political conditions).

Also scared of imaginary things (like heffalumps and woozles).

  1. Not surprising. China is the largest world wide market. It would be foolish to neither cater to them nor sanitize content for them.

  2. There are several shows that are omitted on streaming services in the US because of various cultural insensitivity.

1 Like

But can people in Taiwan watch it?


Is Winnie the Pooh available?

1 Like

True, but those omissions aren’t made by the threat of government sanction. It could be seen as some difference in holding back material that may be offensive to your viewers on the one hand, and offensive to the government on the other.

You could make a slightly better argument by saying that if a company does business in some country, they have to abide by the laws of that country, otherwise the corporation is putting themselves above the law, and who wants that? If the laws of that country are morally or ethically questionable, then it would be better if the company chose not to do business that way, but money will win out, often.


Yes, but in the authoritarian collectivist structure - the government and people are one. Or so they would have you believe. So

One could argue objectively, that the government having this level of censorship is bad, although the US and other countries can and have banned media from other countries before as well. And media companies have to adhere to government regulations as well. Disney, for example, won’t be dropping f-bombs or feature full frontal nudity on the Simpsons any time soon, per FCC regulations.

You could make this argument for literally any country, including the US. And I would include “actions” on that list as well.

The sleeping dragon has awakened. It would be hubris for the US government or private entities to think they can tell China how they should do things. I suppose when it comes to certain things, like human rights, we should be offing some criticism (hypocritical it may be). But make no mistake, while they are happy to work with US companies, but they won’t allow them to dictate what they do or do not find acceptable.

I’m assuming you mean FCC regulations. But that doesn’t actually apply to streaming services like Disney+. Plenty of streaming services have that type of content.


Some things are exclusive to a partiicular streaming platform, and the threat of government sanction is implicit in the monopoly grants of copyright that make such exclusivity possible.

It is, for instance, difficult (but not impossible) to find “Stark Raving Dad”

What’s truly nefarious is that China is largely succeeding in getting Americans to self-censor, and not just in media that’s being shown in China. Plenty of celebrities and athletes have faced China’s wrath for saying mildly critical things on Twitter, which isn’t even available in China. It’s really disheartening to see these people make cringy public apologies to China for things like acknowledging the existence of Taiwan in order to avoid blowing up their careers.


Well, I’m glad I don’t live in your paranoid delusion.

Oops, yeah FCC in that case.

Right, but the Simpson’s air on TV and adhere to those standards in the US.

And it isn’t to say other countries couldn’t have similar standards for streaming services. Or not. Just pointing out everyone has regulatory boards on what is appropriate.

It is the biggest market in the world, and if you are an actor on that stage, you best mind your steps.

The whole Taiwan thing is a huge powder keg and an extremely sensitive subject over there. One can not overstate that enough. So yeah, such things would “blow up their careers” over there. If Jackie Chan said something like “the US deserved what happened to it on 9/11” you can he would be pressured to make amends as well.

The US is in a position where swinging their dicks around going, “Fuck you, you fucking fucks.” Isn’t entirely tolerated any more. They are no long the only bully on the play ground.

That isn’t to say what China is doing is right - but I do find it pretty hypocritical when it has only been just recently that about half of Americans have faced the reality that, “Wait, the cowboys and the cops aren’t always the ‘good guys’?” Imagine 2021 media shown in say the early 70s and how well that would fly then? Not at all - careers ruined left and right by pressures within the US and calls for government censorship.

So too is China at a similar point. They will either be doubling down on “nothing bad happened here” in the future, like the US continues to do to this day with things like the myths of Thanksgiving. Or there may be softening of rhetoric and the truth will be more widely acknowledged. Either way, I see it as something that will have to happen internally. A Simpson’s episode making a joke about it isn’t going to be the hill anyone is going to die on insisting the right to stream it.

I mean, does this really suprise anybody? Disney has a history of kowtowing the chinese regime. That begins with ridiculous little censorships like this, via removing John Boyega from the Star Wars posters and ends with filming in the direct neigbourhood of actual fucking concentration camps.
It is disgusting.


You forgot a bit.


The China bots are thick in this section! Worse then reddit. And all the “whatabout” comments are weak. Furthermore, the China bots seem to forget that China took control of the Hong Kong government, when it agreed it would not when the British handed over control.
Yea, the USA has major problems, but China is just the worst (the government, not the people and no, they’re not the same thing. Just ask the hundreds slaughtered at the square in question. Oh wait, you can’t.)

1 Like

bows to China leadership

I believe abject prostration is commonly rendered as kowtow.

1 Like

The difference is, I can say, “Thanksgiving is nothing but a cover story for the slaughter of Native Americans” without “disappearing”. Careful Mister44, you’ve got some Chinese spunk on your face.