While Apple is scrutinized for its decision to remove an app that apparently allowed Hong Kong protesters to track police movement, another deferential gesture to China appears to have emerged. The extensive original programming list scheduled for the fall of Apple TV + in the fall is supposedly under the same mandate to keep China happy as a BuzzFeed According to the investigation, Apple's leadership "guided the creators of some of these programs to avoid portraying China in dim light."
As is common practice – South Park recently aired and doubled in one episode criticizing Hollywood productions that lean toward Chinese censorship – Apple's apparent decision to regulate content and practices to preserve Chinese market share comes amidst a wave of similar stories. The NBA has repeatedly avoided any criticism or reference to China after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for protesters in Hong Kong last week. Video game company Blizzard received a general conviction for suspending a player who also expressed support for Hong Kong.
According to BuzzFeed, the mandate that Apple TV + programs refrain from negative portrayals of China was conferred by senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue, and head of international content development Morgan Wandell at the outset. It is unclear what, if any, programs in Apple's broad product line – ranging from Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories, reboot to Reese Witherspoon, Little America's The Morning Show, focused on Kumail Nanjiani's immigration , and space race drama For All Mankind – could potentially include content that would upset Chinese censors. The mandate also obscures another recent high-profile addition to the streaming network, as Apple confirmed Friday that Spielberg and Tom Hanks would collaborate on yet another third WWII dramatic miniseries, Air Masters.
Apple is supposedly cautious about antagonizing Beijing in the light of a 2016 episode which saw China's State Press, Publishing, Radio, Film and Television Administration remove the services of the Apple iBooks Store and iTunes Movies, which competed directly with Chinese Internet companies. Vanity Fair contacted Apple to comment on Apple TV + reported practice.