Is Barbie a Communist? According to Republicans, the answer seems to be, “Most likely.”
A growing number of voices on the right are accusing the upcoming Barbie movie of pushing Chinese propaganda. The film, which comes out July 21, stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, who leave Barbie Land to explore the real world. In one scene before they leave, a rough, hand-drawn map of the world can be seen in the background. The map includes the so-called nine-dash line, a much-disputed division of territory in the South China Sea.
“I guess Barbie is made in China …” Ted Cruz tweeted Monday.
The next day, a spokesperson for the Texas senator told the Daily Mail, “China wants to control what Americans see, hear, and ultimately think, and they leverage their massive film markets to coerce American companies into pushing [Chinese Communist Party] propaganda—just like the way the Barbie film seems to have done with the map.”
Fox News anchor Rachel Campos-Duffy, while covering Cruz’s reaction, mused on air, “Is Barbie Communist?”
“Maybe!” her colleague replied.
China has used the nine-dash line to mark its controversial territorial claims in the South China Sea. Over the years, Beijing has tried to claim sovereignty over 90 percent of the region. Even though The Hague ruled in 2016 that China has no legal basis for its claims, the country has pressed on, building military installations on otherwise uninhabited islands in the sea.
Vietnam has already banned the Barbie movie for its inclusion of the nine-dash line. Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei all say the marker violates their sovereignty.
The Philippines is also considering banning the film. “If the invalidated nine-dash line was indeed depicted in the movie Barbie, then it is incumbent upon the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board of the Philippines to ban the same as it denigrates Philippine sovereignty,” Filipino Senator Francis Tolentino told CNN Philippines on Tuesday.
For those wondering, this is the shot in question of the nine-dash line: