LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Attorney General William Barr criticized Walt Disney Co. and other Hollywood companies Thursday, saying filmmakers and studios have censored themselves in line with Chinese propaganda.
At the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Barr spoke about the growing economic power of the Chinese economy and how the US government believes Hollywood has given in to Beijing's pressure in the past and censored its films "to appease the Chinese Communist Party" .
"I suspect Walt Disney would be disappointed to see how the company he founded deals with the foreign dictatorships of our time," said Barr, quoting Disney's apology to China for the 1997 film "Kundun" in China.
Barr has also been accused of Disney management "courting" the Chinese government to open its $ 5.5 billion Disney Shanghai theme park. According to Barr, 300 of the park's 11,000 full-time employees are "active members of the Communist Party".
"They are reportedly showing hammer and sickle insignia at their desks and attending party lectures during business hours," he added.
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Barr juxtaposed Disney's actions with the studio's WWII training films that trained US sailors in navigation tactics. Over 90 percent of Disney employees were involved in training and information films during the war, Barr said.
The country's top prosecutor also targeted Hollywood actors and filmmakers who, according to Barr, "regularly censor their own films to appease the Chinese Communist Party, the world's most powerful human rights abuser."
He cited the Brad Pitt film "World War Z", which originally contained a scene with characters speculating that the virus may have come from China.
Paramount Pictures has reportedly dropped the China reference in the hope of signing a "never-ended" Chinese distribution agreement, Barr said.
There was no immediate comment from Disney or the Motion Picture Association.