U.S. Rep. Gallagher says ‘Barbie’ movie shows communist China’s influence on Hollywood

By: - July 7, 2023 6:09 pm

Gallagher’s critique comes in response to a dashed line on a colorful ‘World Map’ that appears in images from the movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. (Rep. Gallagher official headshot and screenshot from movie trailer)

Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher said this week that he hopes a cartoon map in the highly-anticipated and excessively pink “Barbie” movie by Warner Bros. is not a statement on territorial claims in the South China Sea. 

“While it may just be a Barbie map in a Barbie world, the fact that a cartoonish, crayon-scribbled map seems to go out of its way to depict the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] unlawful territorial claims illustrates the pressure that Hollywood is under to please CPP [Chinese Communist Party] censors,” Gallagher said in a statement

Gallagher’s critique comes in response to a dashed line on a colorful “World Map” that appears in images from the movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. Critics have interpreted the line that appears near a blue misshapen blob labeled ‘Asia’ as the nine-dash line, which is a disputed boundary on various maps that represents Beijing claiming large portions of the South China Sea as its territory. 

The nine-dash line was first depicted on a Chinese map in 1947 and since then has been included on various maps of the country. However, an international court ruled in 2016 that China has “no legal basis” for claiming the territory inside the line.   

Gallagher, who chairs the U.S. Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, said he hopes that “Warner Brothers clarifies that the map was not intended to endorse any territorial claims and was in fact, the work of a formerly plastic anthropomorphic doll.” 

Gallagher, who has said that countering China should be a top issue for the U.S. and has centered much of his work in Congress on doing just that, joined other GOP U.S. lawmakers including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn in criticizing the movie. 

U.S. lawmakers are not alone in their critique of the movie, set to release in the U.S. on July 21. It was recently banned in Vietnam because of the map and the Philippines may soon follow. The nine-dash line has been interpreted by China’s neighbors as threatening their sovereignty. 

Warner Bros said in a statement  that “the map in Barbie Land is a child-like crayon drawing,” and “the doodles depict Barbie’s make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the ‘real world.” The entertainment company added that the map “was not intended to make any type of statement.”


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Baylor Spears
Baylor Spears

Baylor Spears is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner. She’s previously written for the Minnesota Reformer and Washingtonian Magazine. A Tennessee-native, she graduated with a degree in journalism from Northwestern University in June 2022.