Disney admits Mulan Xinjiang backlash 'generated a lot of issues for us'

Mulan is yet again stirring outrage — and Disney has admitted the latest controversy created plenty of "issues."

Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy spoke this week as the company is blasted for filming some of the live-action remake of Mulan in China's Xinjiang region, where about one million Uighurs have been detained, and for thanking government officials there in the movie's credits, including a bureau sanctioned by the United States.

"Mulan was primarily shot in, almost the entirety, in New Zealand," McCarthy said, CNN reports. "And in an effort to accurately depict some of the unique landscape and geography of the country of China for this historically period piece drama, we filmed scenery in 20 different locations in China."

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McCarthy said it's standard practice to "acknowledge in the film's credits, the national and local governments that allowed you to film there," and so "in our credits, that was recognized." But she admitted that the backlash has ultimately "generated a lot of issues for us."

One particularly scathing column in The Washington Post on Monday accused Disney of helping to "normalize a crime against humanity" with its decision to film in Xinjiang. Activists previously pushed a boycott of Mulan in response to its lead actress voicing support for Hong Kong police during pro-democracy protests.

All of this came ahead of Mulan's theatrical release in China, and on Thursday, Reuters reported that China has barred media coverage of the film following the Xinjiang outcry. Mulan's early box office numbers from China, according to Variety, show it's "off to a soft start."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.