GOP Rep. Banks excoriates Disney after company cancels meeting with Uyghur advocates
The Uyghurs are a Muslim-majority Turkic group native to China's northwestern Xinjiang province.
Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks on Thursday slammed the Walt Disney Company for cancelling plans to meet with a group of Uyghur advocates.
"Disney executives pulled out of an off the record meeting with Uyghur genocide victims," he said in a press release. "It couldn’t have been to protect Disney’s public image or bottom line, so maybe the executives were just worried about a good night’s sleep."
"Whatever the reason, Disney publicly praised Chinese Communist Party agencies committing genocide and then privately scorned their victims. It’s time for Disney to own up to its mistakes and make amends," he continued.
The Uyghurs are a Muslim-majority Turkic group native to China's northwestern Xinjiang province. Formerly independent, the area has been, with brief interruptions, part of a greater Chinese polity since the Ten Great Campaigns of the Qianlong Emperor in the late 18th Century.
Disney, in 2020, came under fire for its decision to make a live-action remake of "Mulan" in the region, which is currently the site of an ongoing effort by Chinese authorities to eradicate the minority group through slave labor, forced migration, mass internment, and myriad other atrocities.
Banks wrote to Disney CEO Bob Iger on Tuesday, inquiring as to a reported meeting between the company and representatives of the Uighurs, who had expressed concerns about Disney's filming in the region. Republican Reps. Neal Dunn, Fla.; Mike Gallagher, Wisc.; John Moolenaar, Mich., and Ashley Hinson, Iowa; also signed on to the letter.
"We recently received reports that Disney has evaded meeting with victims of the Uyghur genocide," Banks wrote. "Shortly after Mulan’s premiere, a coalition of likeminded groups contacted Disney and asked to organize a sit-down between Disney executives, Uyghur victims’ families, and Uyghur advocates."
"Our understanding is that Disney’s representatives initially agreed to schedule an off-the-record discussion," he continued. "The advocacy groups were hopeful about the opportunity to help correct your company’s apparent indifference towards the Uyghur genocide... But, after initially agreeing to the meeting, Disney’s representatives suddenly cut off the correspondence and ignored the groups’ further inquiries."
Banks further expressed skepticism of any prospect that Disney did not know of the genocide before production began in 2018. He further pointed out that in the credits of the film, the company thanked Chinese government entities known to be complicit in effort.
The Republican concluded by urging Iger to reach out to one of his staffers to schedule a meeting between Disney executives and members of the Uyghur American Association and the Uyghur Human Rights Project.
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.