A BuzzFeed report details that Apple had given strict instructions to creators of its various Apple TV+ shows to not show China in bad light. The instructions were passed on to some creators by Eddy Cue and Morgan Wandell, head of international content development.
Apple has always tried to please the offices in Beijing since China is an important market for the country. Recently though, the company has come under heavy criticism for giving in to the demands of the Chinese government. The company removed an app from the App Store that was being used by Hong Kong protestors following pressure from the Chinese media. Tim Cook explained the removal of the app in an internal memo citing security reasons but failed to provide any key details.
Apple’s tip toeing around the Chinese government isn’t unusual in Hollywood. It’s an accepted practice. “They all do it,” one showrunner who was not affiliated with Apple told BuzzFeed News. “They have to if they want to play in that market. And they all want to play in that market. Who wouldn’t?”
The company had similarly downplayed an exploit in Safari and its seriousness when it was reported that it was used by the Chinese government to target Uyghur Muslims.
“Given how authentically good Apple is at protecting user privacy, it’s very dismaying to see it doing the wrong thing in other areas, especially its relationship with the [Chinese Communist Party],” one former Apple employee told BuzzFeed News.
Apple usually tends to hold itself to very high standards. However, it is clear that it is ready to bend these standards when it comes to doing business in China where a wrong move would lead to it losing out on billions of dollars in revenue. For the company, profits mean everything even if it involves bending its own standards.