After months of being pushed back and put on hold because of the coronavirus, Disney has finally released the live-action remake of Mulan on Disney+ for fans to view for a small fortune of $29.99 (that's in addition to the subscription users are already paying). Unfortunately, the excitement over the Mulan’s long-awaited release is being shadowed by a renewed controversy stirred up by comments made by its star Liu Yifei, and the internet is once again calling for a global boycott of the movie.
Liu stars as the titular character in this Mulan, which follows a more culturally and historically accurate version than the 1998 animated original. Major changes were made: Sexy General Li Shang (voiced by BD Wong) is a thing of the past, and there’s not really any singing. Still, fans were excited to see the story of Mulan play out on screen once again.
However, a resurfaced 2019 interview is creating problems for Disney’s new drop on the day of its Disney+ release. Last year, star Liu made the untimely admission that she was in full support of the Hong Kong police force, a statement she posted on Weibo (a Chinese social media platform akin to Twitter).
"I support the Hong Kong police," wrote Liu online. "You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong."
The reveal was a particularly hot take, especially in light of the social unrest that was playing out in Hong Kong at the time. Starting in June 2019, thousands of people in Hong Kong began hosting anti-government demonstrations in the streets. Many of the protests were sparked after the proposition of an an extradition bill which would have legally allowed criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China, but the social justice movement grew to address general government corruption. In response, the government sent police to quell the protests by any means necessary, utilizing tear gas and rubber bullets against the people. Even after the bill was suspended and then formally withdrawn, the civil unrest and protests continued, with the authorities using even more extreme force.
A year later, the repercussions of Yifei's pro-police stance are manifesting the form of a boycott of her first Disney project. The internet still remembers, and many would-be viewers of Mulan have opted out because of the actress's controversial comments.
This film is released today. But 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. https://t.co/utmP1tIWNa— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) September 4, 2020
As a Disney’s fan, I’m totally disappointed in Disney this time. How can you promote this woman who supports state brutality against the people. You can take any action, but you didn’t. So let the social sanction begin! #BoycottMulan #MilkTeaAlliance— spookyzombie 🧟 (@spookyzombie99) September 3, 2020
MY Mulan doesn’t support police brutality #BoycottMulan pic.twitter.com/fJ2FMrBubH— Urma (@ugly_bird_app) September 3, 2020
The #BoycottMulan movement presents yet another problem for the film. Access to Mulan was already limited because of the price that audiences would have to pay just to see it — not to mention the extra money you'd shell out to permanently have it in your Disney+ library — but the backlash against Liu gives Disney fans even more reason not to tune in.
Disney's live action remakes have been largely successful, raking in millions for the entertainment powerhouse over the years. But this movie might be the exception; there's a chance that it could very well be cancelled before it even really begins.