As Apple embarked on the development of a series of exclusive programming for its Apple TV+ service in early 2018, the company's leadership advised content creators not to piss off China, according to BuzzFeed News.
In early 2018 as development on Apple’s slate of exclusive Apple TV+ programming was underway, the company’s leadership gave guidance to the creators of some of those shows to avoid portraying China in a poor light, BuzzFeed News has learned. Sources in position to know said the instruction was communicated by Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of internet software and services, and Morgan Wandell, its head of international content development. It was part of Apple's ongoing efforts to remain in China’s good graces after a 2016 incident in which Beijing shut down Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movies six months after they debuted in the country. -BuzzFeed
And for all the left's virtue-signaling over 'microaggressions' and the patriarchy depriving every gender their own bathroom, the progressive minds behind Hollywood and Silicon Valley After are hypocritically mum when it comes to China's well-documented human rights violations.
"They all do it," one showrunner told BuzzFeed. "They have to if they want to play in that market. And they all want to play in that market. Who wouldn't?"
Apple of course relies on China for tens of billions in annual sales - not to mention the annual manufacture of hundreds of millions of iPhones - which as the report notes, makes it "particularly important to avoid running afoul of Chinese government," especially in light of what we've seen over the past weeks with the NBA and other organizations whose employees have expressed solidarity with Hong Kong's pro-democracy demonstrators.
Apple Told Some Apple TV+ Show Developers Not To Anger China- hey and don’t mention that Turkey is bad. We sell a lot of watches there. And don’t mention Saudi Arabia murdering journalists- they love the iMac and don’t mention Russia—big iPad market. https://t.co/1sHGO18MxX— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) October 12, 2019
Last week, Apple removed HKmap.live from the iOS App Store - an app which helped Hong Kong protesters track, elude, and stage counterattack operations against the police. The removal sparked outrage, including Hong Kong IT legislator Charles Mok, who tweeted in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook "We Hongkongers will definitely look closely at whether Apple chooses to uphold its commitment to free and other basic human rights, or become an accomplice for Chinese censorship and oppression."
Today I wrote to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, to tell him his company’s decision to remove HKmap live app from Appstore will cause problems for normal Hong Kong’s citizens trying to avoid police presence while they are under constant fear ofpolice brutality. Values over profits, pls! pic.twitter.com/guaBfV8Pnf— Charles Mok 莫乃光 (@charlesmok) October 10, 2019
As BuzzFeed notes, "Apple’s recent actions in China are a continuation of the company’s years-long practice of appeasing Beijing."
To do business in China, the company adopts to local dictates, distasteful as they may be to its CEO Tim Cook, an outspoken gay rights advocate and privacy crusader. It's an ironic inversion of a longstanding argument in the West that by bringing China into the world trade system, the country would adopt western values. Instead, China is asking tech companies to adopt its values — and Apple is willing to pay that price.
The removal of HKmap.live was one of a series of actions Apple took at China’s instigation in the past week. Apple removed the Quartz app from its app store in China — “Presumably because of the excellent work our team in Hong Kong has been doing covering the protests,” Quartz technology editor Mike Murphy said — and removed the Taiwan flag emoji for iOS users in Hong Kong. -BuzzFeed
Also noted is that Apple only rejected just two of 56 app takedown requests from Beijing - eliminating 517 apps the communist government disapproved of, according to the Cupertino, California company's transparency report. What's more, "Apple provided customer data to the Chinese government 96% of the time when it asked about a device, and 98% of the time when it asked about an account. In the US, those numbers were around 80% and the US government did not make any app removal requests."
Read the rest of the report here.