The Walt Disney Company’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party has been a topic of debate and criticism among fans and investors alike for the past several years.
Since CEO Bob Iger was able to secure a deal that led to the creation of Shanghai Disney Resort–the first American Theme Park built in Mainland China–decisions by the company have been made that make people question where the Mouse House’s loyalties lie.
In this latest instance, a new report states that an episode of The Simpsons has been removed from Disney+ in Hong Kong due to its reference to the existence of forced labor camps in China.
According to Reuters, which claimed to check the initial reports from the Financial Times, the episode was called “One Angry Lisa”:
In the episode, the character Marge Simpson is shown images of China’s Great Wall during an exercise class as her instructor says: “Behold the wonders of China. Bitcoin mines, forced labour camps where children make smartphones.”
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This follows a 2021 report which saw another Simpsons episode titled “Goo Goo Gai Pan,” which referenced China’s crackdown on recognition of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre was also taken off the streaming service in Hong Kong.
Despite continued accusations from rights groups and Western leaders based on clear visual and written evidence, China’s ruling government has continued to deny the existence of the Massacre as well as the crimes against the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang region, which include not just forced labor camps, but also forced sterilization, and re-education camps.
The Walt Disney Company also found itself in hot water when it was discovered that its live-action remake of Mulan was filmed in the region known to host these human rights abuses.
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The CCP has been actively cracking down on Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms after pro-democracy rallies broke out in 2019. In 2021, the Hong Kong government passed a film censorship law directed against content deemed to “endorse, support, glorify, encourage and incite activities that might endanger national security.” But it is unclear at this time if it played any role in the removal of this episode. The Walt Disney Company did not respond to comment on the matter.
Every missing episode of The Simpsons is still available for streaming in the United States. “Goo Goo Gai Pan” can be found on Disney+, and “One Angry Lisa” can be found on Hulu, as it is a part of the latest Simpsons Season.