Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Hollywood’s Other Foreign Censor: Saudi Arabia

By Evin Ashley Erdogdu, The American Conservative

American culture and freedom of expression are the battleground of a new cold war.

China and Saudi Arabia have outsized influence in Hollywood today. Money from their repressive governments is influencing American culture, including our films, and thus our representation around the world. It is also leading to widespread censorship, against our cherished freedom of expression. America must regain the pen of our cultural narrative.

Culture, including film, is a valuable tool in the international relations theory of “soft power,” or the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion. The film industry is a highly profitable one, valued at over $2 trillion in 2019 box office revenue alone, and it wields significant international influence.

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