Disney removes 'Simpsons' episode with Chinese 'forced labor camps' reference from Hong Kong streaming service
A recent episode of Fox's hit animated series The Simpsons, featuring a reference to "forced labor camps" in China has been removed from the Disney+ streaming service in Hong Kong. Yahoo Entertainment has confirmed reports that the episode "One Angry Lisa" is not available in the territory, which is officially designated as a special administrative region of China. The Walt Disney Company, which owns The Simpsons, declined further comment.
Reports that "One Angry Lisa" is not available to stream in Hong Kong originated in the Financial Times. The episode premiered in the U.S. on Oct. 2, 2022 on the show's longtime home on the Fox network, and is currently available to stream domestically on Hulu. As Hulu is not available in international locations like Hong Kong, Disney+ carries both new and classic episodes of the show abroad.
"One Angry Lisa" features a storyline where Homer purchases Marge a Peloton-like exercise bike, and she becomes enamored of one particular trainer named Jesse (voiced by longtime Simpsons cast member Hank Azaria). Invited to join Jesse on a private ride, he selects China as their virtual location. "Behold the wonders of China," Jesse says. "Bitcoin mines, forced labor camps where children make smartphones and romance." A jealous Homer interrupts the ride and gets into a fight with Jesse, with the Great Wall of China on the screen behind them.
According to the Financial Times and Business Insider, it's unknown when "One Angry Lisa" may have been removed from Disney+ in Hong Kong. A national security law implemented in 2020 gives China broad authority over Hong Kong citizens and companies doing business in the region.
The Simpsons has seen episodes pulled from Hong Kong's Disney+ streaming service in the past. In 2021, it was reported that the 2005 episode "Goo Goo Gai Pan" — which featured the Simpsons visiting Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the site of famous student-led protests in 1989 — was no longer available in the region. Meanwhile, major Hollywood movies like Fight Club and Minions: The Rise of Gru have famously been altered by Chinese censors for versions shown to mainland audiences.
The Simpsons airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Fox, and also streams on Disney+.