Top Gun: Maverick is getting bashed by Sen. Lindsey Graham for removing a Taiwanese flag from Tom Cruise's jacket. In the original film, Cruise's LT Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is wearing a bomber jacket that has flags for Taiwan and Japan, but in the new film those flags have been swapped out. Some have speculated that this may be due to the fact that Chinese film production company Tencent Pictures is a financier of the film. Now, Sen. Graham is sharing his thoughts on the situation.
The Hill reports that TMZ cameras caught up to Graham and asked him what his thoughts are on the move. He replied, "That's the power of Chinese money in the modern world that kind of sucks."
"I hate to see the flag removed because of Chinese financing."
The unexpected costuming change appears to have first been noticed by journalist Mark MacKinnon, a Senior International Correspondent for Canada's The Globe and Mail.
MacKinnon pointed out the differences in the jacket after the first trailer for Top Gun: Maverick debuted.
There’s a new Top Gun movie coming out. And Maverick is wearing the same leather jacket - only this time it’s Communist Party of China-approved, so the Japanese and Taiwanese flag patches are gone (screenshot on right is from the new trailer)... pic.twitter.com/gUxFNFNUKX— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) July 19, 2019
After some digging, MacKinnon also determined that the reason for the change may be due to Tencent Pictures being a Chinese-based company.
Tencent Pictures have also co-financed films such as Wonder Woman and Kong: Skull Island.
"Mystery" solved. China's Tencent Pictures is one of the main producers of Top Gun Maverick: pic.twitter.com/FE4Xq5qKwN— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) July 19, 2019
Many other Twitter users eventually joined the conversation, with one person commenting, "A film glorifying the U.S. military, bowing to Chinese sensitivities. What a time to be alive."
"They're looking for a larger audience on mainland China," someone else wrote. "Money talks, etc..."
James Bond movie took 20 million from the Mexican gov't to portray Mexico City in a positive light. Everyone is a sell out trying to influence the minds of people watching.— KSE (@kbk3n3) July 19, 2019
Eventually, one person offered the following explanation: "It looks like in the original movie, the patch is his father's from his Vietnam tour while the second patch is his own. The second say 85-86, when the original came out, and says Indian Ocean Cruise, where the dogfights at the end of the original happened." Many others have since echoed this sentiment.