- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Hollywood producer Judd Apatow says industry giants have, for all intents and purposes, become China’s puppets.

The man who directed “Knocked Up” spoke to MSNBC about censorship in Tinseltown as investment money flowed in from around the world.

“A lot of these giant corporate entities have business with, you know, countries around the world — Saudi Arabia or China — and they’re just not going to criticize them,” he said for a “Mavericks with Ari Melber” interview Monday. “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.”

Mr. Apatow’s message comes roughly one year after “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker drew the ire of China’s media censors for an episode titled “Band in China.”

Chinese social media platforms scrubbed the episode, which excoriated Hollywood for its willingness to abandon American ideals to the highest bidder.

“We’re all going, ‘can we say this joke or not say that joke?’” Mr. Apatow continued. “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.”

The producer noted that a film like 2014’s “The Interview,” which used humor to spotlight North Korean gulags, would not be made in 2020.

“Instead of us doing business with China and that leading to China becoming more free, what has happened is a place like China has bought our silence with their money,” Mr. 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, nobody would ever consider it.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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