Activists are calling for a boycott of Disney’s live-action “Mulan” remake, citing a social media post from the lead actress in support of Hong Kong police.
Pro-Democracy activists from Hong Kong to Thailand highlighted a 2019 social media post by Liu Yifei, who stars as the title character, that voiced support for the police. They’re urging people to avoid the film, which launched on the Disney+ streaming platform on Friday.
“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,” Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong tweeted on Friday.
Spokespersons for Disney didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Liu reportedly shared a social media post in August 2019 amid widespread protests in the former British territory, with the caption, “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong.”
Liu, a native of China and with U.S. citizenship, toned down the rhetoric in a February interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s obviously a very complicated situation and I’m not an expert,” she said.
The post came as police clashed with thousands of demonstrators who opposed a controversial bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China from Hong Kong.
While protesters have since had to shift tactics due to a sweeping national security law imposed by China in June and COVID-19 restrictions, tension remains elevated. Last week, pro-democracy demonstrators gathered at a shopping mall in Hong Kong to chant slogans ahead of the one-year anniversary of a violent confrontation with police.
The film was originally slated to be released in theaters earlier this year, but was postponed amid the pandemic. Instead, Disney opted to launch it for $30 on its streaming platform in a crucial test for the $11 billion movie-theater business.
“A premium video-on-demand success for Disney will squeeze the traditional cinema model, forcing other studios to follow suit,” according to Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Geetha Ranganathan and Amine Bensaid. They say the movie needs to be purchased 10 million times just to break even.
In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.