Judd Apatow said that a movie about the concentration camps in China would not get made today, because no studio would buy the pitch for fear of alienating the communist regime.
“China has bought our silence with their money,” the filmmaker said.
Apatow made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber. The conversation included a discussion of how he got started in comedy and how he develops characters. On the topic of cancel culture, Apatow said he sees some of that creeping into comedy, but the bigger concern to him is large corporations shutting down criticism of human rights abuses.
“For me what I perceive as more chilling is a corporate type of censorship that people don’t really notice, which is a lot of these giant corporate entities have business with countries around the world, Saudi Arabia, China, and they’re just not going to criticize them 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,” Apatow said.
“They’ve just completely shut down critical content about human rights abuses in China. And I think that’s much scarier.”
Apatow is not staying silent though. After backlash against Disney started to grow for filming the live-action remake of “Mulan” in a region of China where minority Uighurs are being locked up and reportedly subject to ethnic cleansing, he tweeted:
In response to a Bloomberg article that referred to Uighurs being “detained”, which was published on Apple News, Apatow also tweeted:
“They are not ‘detained’ they are being held in CONCENTRATION CAMPS. Apple uses that word because they don’t want to anger China. Maybe Disney and Apple should SPEAK UP & try to help a million people who were abducted and put in CONCENTRATION CAMPS.”
Comedian Ricky Gervais (co-creator of “The Office”) made similar comments when he hosted the 2020 Golden Globes. “If ISIS had a streaming service you would be calling your agents,” he said, criticizing the hypocrisy of supposedly Woke actors who work for corporations that do unethical things.
After Apatow’s comments regarding China’s concentration camps got attention in the media, he tweeted about how absurd it is that so few people are talking about the issue:
“China has concentration camps with as many as two million people there and so few people dare mention it that it becomes a news item when I do. Shouldn’t everyone mention it? Just as a human being doesn’t it destroy you to know this is happening? Learn about it. Research it.”
He also tweeted a video clip from John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight that explains the situation.