The Simpsons run foul in Hong Kong over ‘forced labour’ joke


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Disney appears to have dumped an episode of The Simpsons from its streaming platform in Hong Kong over an anti-China joke.

The episode, titled “One Angry Lisa” first appeared on TV last October.

It shows Marge Simpson using an indoor spin bike with an on-screen instructor in front of a virtual background of the Great Wall of China.

“Behold the wonders of China. Bitcoin mines, forced labor camps where children make smartphones, and romance,” the instructor says as Marge pedals.

The reference to labour camps appears to be a criticism of China’s policies in Xinjiang, where it has been widely criticised by the United Nations, western governments and human rights groups for alleged oppression of the Uighurs. China denies any abuse and maintains its actions are designed to combat domestic terrorism.

The episode first aired in October last year, but remains unaccessible on Disney Plus in Hong Kong, The Financial Times reported this week.

It is available to watch in the US – and in Australia – on Hulu, another Disney platform.

Also in October, China passed a new censorship law banning content it deems to be against its national security interests.

A Hong Kong government spokesperson told CNN that it would not comment on the decisions of individual businesses, including if it had approached Disney to remove the episode.

But the spokesperson said that offences under the Chinese territory’s national security law were “clearly defined” and “law-abiding people and organisations will not unwittingly violate the law”.

It is the second episode of The Simpsons that Disney Plus has made unavailable in Hong Kong. In 2021, it also dumped an episode from 2005 that featured a reference to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

In that episode, the Simpsons visit Beijing, where they see a sign in the square that says: “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened.”

The post <i>The Simpsons</i> run foul in Hong Kong over ‘forced labour’ joke appeared first on The New Daily.