John Cena has attracted criticism for apologising to China following his comments about Taiwan.
The WWE icon and Fast and Furious 9 star recently spoke to Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS about the upcoming blockbuster, saying: ‘Taiwan is the first country to see the Furious 9, this movie is very good, a lot of this movie, but you’re the first to see this movie.’
Internationally, Taiwan is mostly regarded as its own country. However, the Chinese mainland rejects any notion of the self-governed island being an independent state, instead seeing it as a province that is part of China. Cena soon apologised for any offence caused, which only caused more backlash.
‘I made one mistake. I have to say something very, very, very important now. I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m very, very sorry about my mistake. I apologise, I apologise, I’m very sorry. You must understand that I really love, really respect China and the Chinese people. My apologies. See you,’ Cena said in Mandarin.
‘That has to be the most pathetic, spineless thing I’ve ever witnessed with my own eyes. Congrats, John, you just made yourself the CCP’s newest sex toy,’ one social media user reacted.
‘I really want John Cena to understand by denying Taiwan is a country he is also denying the cultural identity and experience of Taiwanese. Taiwan is their home, not to mention what China is doing is colonisation. He should apologise to Taiwan. Truly,’ another wrote.
There’s a relatively simple reason for all of this: China is a crucial movie market, especially for the Fast and Furious franchise. In the ninth entry’s opening weekend, it made $135.6 million, one of the biggest box office results since the COVID-19 pandemic. Vin Diesel has referred to China as ‘family’ of the series, and the next instalment will be filmed in the country.
‘Taiwan is a country, John Cena humiliated himself most likely in the hopes that the Chinese turn out to see a really boring movie and to ensure it doesn’t get banned in China,’ one user speculated.
‘Friendly reminder that John Cena has cast more Make-A-Wish grants than anyone else and done more for charitable causes than most of the people trying to cancel him combined. Kissing up to China is lame but let’s not pretend most people wouldn’t have done the same in his shoes,’ another user wrote in his defence.
Fellow wrestling star CM Punk has since changed his Twitter bio to ‘Taiwan is a country’ in light of the controversy.
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