Joe Biden may appoint Disney CEO Bob Iger as ambassador to China or the United Kingdom, sources told the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.
The news comes as Disney’s extensive footprint in China has drawn criticism in the U.S. In particular, the company’s live-action remake of Mulan contained segments shot in Xinjiang, where the Chinese Communist Party has imprisoned over a million Uyghurs and other Muslims in concentration camps and has conducted a forced-sterilization campaign on Uyghur women.
The credits to Mulan thank entities in the CCP including the party’s propaganda commission in Xinjiang as well as a branch of the Xinjiang public security bureau. The latter entity has a role in operating the concentration camps, while the propaganda commission has justified the operation of the camps.
While the coronavirus pandemic has made a dent on Disney’s business in China, the company had invested in theme parks and movie productions in the country in recent years, including a Disney theme park in Shanghai. It isn’t clear if Iger’s knowledge of and experience in China was a factor in the Biden team’s considerations. Iger is a donor to Biden’s campaign, and gave $250,000 to the Biden Victory Fund during election season.
In October 2019, Iger declined to take a position on the pro-democracy protests then roiling Hong Kong, citing Disney’s business interests. China has since applied a sweeping national security law to the formerly autonomous territory, and arrested protesters and proponents of autonomy.
“To take a position [on the protests] that could harm our company in some form would be a big mistake,” Iger told the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference at the time.