The Walt Disney Co. apparently doesn’t want to risk "The Simpsons" offending Chinese Communist Party officials.
The Hollywood Reporter said that an episode in which Homer Simpson takes his family to China has been kept from Disney+ viewers in Hong Kong.
First televised in 2005, the 12th episode in season No. 16 of the Fox animated series shows the Simpsons visiting Tiananmen Square and seeing a placard that reads: "On this site, in 1989, nothing happened."
Student-led demonstrations held in Tiananmen Square, Beijing during 1989 resulted in a death toll ranging from hundreds to as many as 2,600 after leaders sent troops to violently clear protesters.
Hong Kong viewers browsing "The Simpsons" on the flagship Disney streaming service are taken from episode No. 11 to episode No. 13. The episode entitled "Goo Goo Gai Pan" is missing.
"It appears the episode has suffered precisely the kind of the censorship it was written to ridicule," The Hollywood Reporter said.
Disney had not responded to The Hollywood Reporter's request for comment.
Bloomberg, which reported that Disney+ launched in Hong Kong on Nov. 16, said the episode in question was available during the weekend in Singapore.
The Simpsons episode also follows the family as it visits the mummified remains of ex-leader Mao Zedong, and sees a row of tanks in Beijing — a reference to a famous photo in which a man blocks a line of tanks at Tiananmen Square.
Chinese officials have been cracking down on political dissent in Hong Kong. A trial began earlier this month for tycoon Jimmy Lai and seven other pro-democracy activists charged over their roles in an unauthorized Tiananmen vigil last year.
"Disney has allegedly removed one episode of The Simpsons from the Hong Kong edition of Disney+, which described the family’s visit to Beijing and carried this famous scene. Via @StandNewsHK https://thestandnews.page.link/h7TfYYksZhnXZc9j7," Hong Kong political reporter Alvin Lum tweeted Friday.
Last month, Hong Kong's legislature, under pressure from Beijing, implemented a new law banning films deemed contrary to China’s national security interests from being screened or distributed in the city.
The content rules governing streaming services in Hong Kong remain somewhat unclear, The Hollywood Reporter said, though experts say it's only a matter of time before the services are hit with similar restrictions.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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