EXCLUSIVE: Several GOP lawmakers are accusing Hollywood of once again acquiescing to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over the “Barbie” movie’s reported inclusion of a map that appears to endorse Beijing’s dominance of the South China Sea.
“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 [China’s] unlawful territorial claims illustrates the pressure that Hollywood is under to please CCP censors,” Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., chairman of the House select committee on China, told Fox News Digital.
The upcoming summer blockbuster starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling has found itself in the middle of one of today’s most heated geopolitical disputes.
Vietnamese officials announced the Warner Bros. film would be banned within its borders over the inclusion of a map that purportedly supports China’s claim to vast parts of the South China Sea. Officials in the Philippines have signaled they could follow suit.
Gallagher called on Warner Bros. to speak out about the controversy to clarify “that the map was not intended to endorse any territorial claims and was, in fact, the work of a formerly plastic anthropomorphic doll.”
Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., accused the U.S. film industry of flagrant “hypocrisy” for pandering to China’s vast audience while ignoring its troubling human rights record.
“This is yet another disgraceful example of Hollywood being in the pocket of communist China. Not only does it undermine our national security, but exposes the film industry’s blatant hypocrisy on social justice and human rights,” Waltz told Fox News Digital.
The boundary line shown on the map represents China’s claim to a vast section of the South China Sea, which is also being fought over by Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan. The map’s inclusion in “Barbie” underscores the growing controversy over Hollywood’s reliance on China, which has rivaled the U.S. for its biggest market in recent years.
Critics of the movie industry have accused studio executives of ignoring Beijing’s human rights abuses for the sake of selling films there.
A GOP lawmaker who serves with Gallagher on the China committee, Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., similarly accused studio heads of “carrying water” for China’s various offenses.
“We defeated the Soviet Union with Coke, Levi’s and James Dean. We need soft power superiority just as much as we need military superiority to win the new Cold War with China, and that’s impossible with Hollywood working alongside the Chinese Communist Party,” Banks said. “Movie executives who carry water for the murderous communist regime are endangering our national security and must face consequences.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., called the “Barbie” movie’s inclusion of the pro-China map wrong on a legal and moral level.
An international tribunal at The Hague did say China’s claims to vast portions of the South China Sea had no legal merit in 2016, but Beijing dismissed the ruling at the time.
“Hollywood and the left are, once again, more concerned with selling films in communist China than standing up to the regime’s egregious human rights abuses,” Blackburn said. “The ‘Barbie’ movie’s depiction of a map endorsing Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea is legally and morally wrong and must be taken seriously.”