John Cena showed some fast and furious attributes while apologizing for his comments that included calling Taiwan a “country” in a recent interview.
The urgency to set things straight is obvious: China is a vitally important market for Hollywood films such as Cena’s just-released “F9” project.
Cena, whose character is the brother of Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto, told Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS that “Taiwan is the first country that can watch F9.”
To be fair, it’s a sticky situation.
As CNN put it: “Taiwan is a self-governed democratic island, but China claims it as its sovereign territory despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war over 70 years ago. Beijing considers any suggestion of Taiwan’s independence crossing its ‘red line,’ and has been increasingly trying to use its economic power to police speech on the topic around the world.”
Cena issued his mea culpa Tuesday via Chinese social media platform Weibo.
As he did in the interview that landed him in hot water, Cena spoke in Mandarin.
“I’m sorry for my mistake,” Cena said. “I must say now, (it’s) very, very, very, very important (that) I love, and respect even more, China and the Chinese people.”
“F9,’ the ninth installment for the “Fast & Furious” franchise, took in $135 million in China this past weekend.
Cena has 600,000 followers on Weibo and has studied Chinese for years.
But commenters were active.
“Please say ‘Taiwan is part of China’ in Chinese, otherwise we will not accept,” one wrote.
Some painted Cena as clueless while “profiting from Chinese people,” but others were more kind: “Looking at his previous interviews, I can feel that he really likes China. He said the wrong thing and paid the price. He is different from other foreign actors who dare not respond or have different political opinions.”