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Subcommittee Chairman Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks as Federal Aviation Administration Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt, and Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel appear before a Senate Transportation subcommittee hearing on commercial airline safety, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in Washington. Two recent Boeing 737 MAX crashes, in Ethiopia and Indonesia, which killed nearly 350 people, have lead to the temporary grounding of models of the aircraft and to increased scrutiny of the FAA’s delegation of a number of aspects of the certification process to the aircraft manufacturers themselves. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

 

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz  has been on a tear lately about how the United States has worked with China in the past and how it ought to be adjusting that relationship post-pandemic.

One of his favorite targets has been the Hollywood film industry due to that industry’s tendency to alter and edit Hollywood-produced films to appease Chinese censors and appeal to Chinese audiences. On Sunday, Cruz tweeted a 2013 article from the industry rag “The Wrap” detailing how the Brad Pitt vehicle World War Z adjusted itself for Chinese censors.

When executives at Paramount viewed the latest cut of the $175 million Brad Pitt zombie film “World War Z,” they were not concerned by the violence or its reengineered ending. They were worried about a minor plot point that involved a sensitive topic: China.

In the offending scene, characters debate the geographic origin of an outbreak that caused a zombie apocalypse and point to China, a Paramount executive told TheWrap.

Normally the detail would not have merited discussion at the top echelons of the studio. But given the fast-rising prominence of the Chinese market, state censorship and the quotas for U.S. releases, the studio advised the movie producers to drop the reference to China and cite a different country as a possible source of the pandemic, an executive with knowledge of the film told TheWrap.

Interestingly, this comes on the heels of that film’s star playing Dr. Anthony Fauci recently in an SNL cold open in which he attempted to “translate” Trump’s incorrect information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cruz, who has recently introduced a bill that would bar Hollywood production studios from working with the U.S. Department of Defense if they alter their films to appease China, recently told Tucker Carlson he believes Hollywood is “complicit” in China’s misdeeds.

“The problem with China generally is enormous, and I think this should be a wake-up call to the entire world; this pandemic that is playing out,” Cruz said. “And when it comes to Hollywood, Hollywood is not an innocent bystander here. Hollywood is fully complicit, Hollywood works with the Chinese censors — Hollywood has been willing over and over again, there’s so much money at stake.”