Why Won’t Hollywood Speak Up for TikTok?

shou chew tiktok ceo
Why is Hollywood sitting out what could be a landmark First Amendment case? The refrain from industry people I’ve talked with seems to be, It’s not our fight. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Eriq Gardner
July 2, 2024

Once upon a time, Hollywood was the gallant defender of the controversial and the incendiary—from pornographers to foul-mouthed comedians, from animal abusers to anonymous provocateurs. The studio heads, producers, and writers stood behind the First Amendment, driven by the fear that they might be next on the chopping block. But when scholarsracial justice groups, and other advocates filed amicus briefs last week challenging the new federal law that could ban TikTok, the entertainment industry was conspicuously absent.

The silence of the Motion Picture Association, the Writers Guild of America, and other interest groups isn’t due to indifference to the TikTok legislation. Any time 170 million Americans are consuming entertainment content, Hollywood is paying attention. (For those just tuning in, the law, signed earlier this year by Biden, requires that Chinese firm ByteDance divest ownership of TikTok, possibly by selling the platform to a U.S. company.)