Nowadays, famous individuals having strong political opinions is a slippery slope towards mass controversy. For breakout star Liu Yifei, the lead actress for Mulan, it has arrived during a critical time for not only her own career but the newly-released film. On September 4, the live-action remake hit Disney+ for a rental price of $34.99 AUD. But as anticipated as the film was, it has now become the centre of calls to boycott the film.
The controversy is not new, however. Yifei turned heads last year when she expressed support for the Hong Kong police amid deadly riots in the capital city, where law enforcement was condemned for using excessive force and violence against anti-government protestors. According to The Guardian, the actress posted a message to Chinese social media platform Weibo, saying “I also support Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now. What a shame for Hong Kong.”
While the altercation online subsided, following the release of Mulan, activists from the likes of Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea have reignited the call to boycott the film.
Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong tweeted, “This film is released today. But because Disney kowtows to Beijing, and because Liu Yifei openly and proudly endorses police brutality in Hong Kong, I urge everyone who believes in human rights to #BoycottMulan.”
This film is released today. But because Disney kowtows to Beijing, and because Liu Yifei openly and proudly endorses police brutality in Hong Kong, I urge everyone who believes in human rights to #BoycottMulan. https://t.co/utmP1tIWNa
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) September 4, 2020
In addition, US attorney general William Barr criticised companies such as Disney, who “bow to Beijing” by censoring films to ensure it is distributed throughout China – what could be considered a crucial and cash cow region for the box office.
The fast-tracked release of Mulan comes after the studio aims to earn back its $200 million USD investment via its streaming service – a desperate bid to revive the film industry in 2020. But will that happen following boycott calls? Stay tuned.