When it comes to political and pop culture prophecy, some of the most poignant moments have come to us from Comedy Central’s South Park.
The animated series began as a crude vehicle set to push the FCC’s buttons with crass and guttural humor, but soon grew into a scathing take on current events that just so happen to be set in a 4th grade classroom. In an episode first airing last week, the series took aim at China’s impact on American media culture, citing several instances in which Disney had been forced at alter their products in order to appease the enormously powerful Chinese consumer base.
South Park was then immediately banned in China.
Now, within days of the animated satire’s airing, the NBA has drawn heat after caving to China under threat of boycott after a team’s coach made comments regarding the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
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The NBA is now neutering the freedom of the press in this matter, in an effort to save the financial windfall of the Far East.
CNN reporter on Thursday was cut off by a Houston Rockets media officer while asking Houston Rockets stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook about the ongoing free speech furor surrounding China.
During a press conference in Japan, CNN’s Christina Macfarlane asked Harden and Westbrook if China responding in anger to a now-deleted tweet by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in support of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong had changed the way they thought about weighing in on social issues.
“The NBA has always been a league that prides itself on its players and coaches being able to speak out openly about political and social affairs. I just wonder after the events of this week, and the fallout we’ve seen, whether you would both feel differently about speaking out in that way in the future?” asked Macfarlane.
The Houston Rockets media officer is heard off-camera interjecting that the players are taking “basketball questions only.” A man is then seen reaching to remove the microphone from the reporter’s hands.
“It’s a legitimate question,” Macfarlane replied. “This is an event that has happened this week.”
That’s right: A member of the US press was told that her question wasn’t allowed because the NBA is afraid of China.
Let that sink in; an American organization is self-censoring for the sake of scoring China’s viewership.
This is shameful at best.
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