The Pentagon has long had a friendly working relationship with Hollywood. Since 1917, the Department of Defense has helped Tinseltown make more than 800 movies, according to the Independent. The DOD even has an entertainment liaison office, which it set up in 1948.
It has been a relationship that has benefitted studios' ticket sales and government messaging.
Now, one Republican senator — Ted Cruz of Texas — is calling out Hollywood's willingness to appease the communist Chinese government and wants to condition the Pentagon's assistance in moviemaking on studios' vows not to cave to the ChiComs, Politico reported Tuesday night.
What's that now?
At the same time Hollywood has been willing to use U.S. government resources to help its bottom line, it also has long had a history of doing the bidding of communist regimes.
Forget Dalton Trumbo. Forget the traitors who were willing to back Adolf Hitler when Joseph Stalin told them to. Forget the Screen Writers Guild. Forget even the movie industry's love for Fidel Castro and attempt to glorify Che Guevera.
You don't need to go back that far.
Sony edited the Seth Rogen and James Franco movie, "The Interview," to appease communist North Korea strongman Kim Jong Un.
MGM actually went back and digitally altered its "Red Dawn" remake to remove the communist Chinese bad guys so as not to upset Beijing.
Twentieth Century Fox let China censor key scenes from "Bohemian Rhapsody" that discussed Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's sexuality.
This clear pandering to communist China doesn't sit well with Cruz, so the Texas conservative has prepared a bill he plans to introduce the next time the U.S. Senate is in session.
Cruz's "Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, Protecting Talkies Act" — aka "The SCRIPT Act" — would prevent cooperation between the Pentagon and any studios that edit their movies for Chinese audiences, Politico reported.
The SCRIPT Act would block the DOD from helping any studio that had recently edited a movie to meet ChiCom demands or did not promise not to censor their movies before getting assistance from the Pentagon, according to Politico.
Cruz wants to hold Hollywood accountable
Cruz's bill comes at a time that the Chinese government is trying to convince the world that the U.S. is responsible for the coronavirus crisis and play down its own role. And American media have been happy to parrot Beijing's talking points.
China's history of using U.S. media for its communist messaging spurred Cruz's efforts to hold Hollywood accountable.
"The Chinese Communist Party spends billions and billions of dollars to mislead Americans about China and shape what our citizens see, hear, and think," Cruz said in a statement on his website. "All of these activities are part of China's whole-of-state approach to amass more influence around the world through information warfare — and we need to put a stop to it."
The senator said it's time the government held movie studios accountable if they're going to use Pentagon resources.
"For too long, Hollywood has been complicit in China's censorship and propaganda in the name of bigger profits," Cruz stated. "The SCRIPT Act will serve as a wake-up call by forcing Hollywood studios to choose between the assistance they need from the American government and the dollars they want from China."