Actor and WWE star John Cena drew backlash and mockery after he apologized to China for calling Taiwan a “country.”
What he said: Cena called Taiwan a “country” during a promotional video for the “Fast & Furious 9″ movie. Taiwan News reported that he made the reference in a video aimed at Taiwanese audiences, in which he speaks Mandarin.
“Taiwan will be the first country to see Fast & Furious 9,” he said in the video. “You are the first to see this movie.”
Cena quickly apologized in response to the immediate backlash on Chinese social media, saying in a statement that he made a “mistake.”
“Hi China, I’m John Cena. I’m in the middle of Fast and Furious 9 promotions. I’m doing a lot of interviews. I made a mistake in one of my interviews. Everyone was asking me if I could use Chinese – [movie] staff gave me a lot of information, so there was a lot of interviews and information,” the statement reads.
“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 apologize, I apologize, I’m very sorry. You must understand that I really love, really respect China and the Chinese people. My apologies. See you,” Cena said.
He made his mea culpa in Mandarin.
Critics slammed the actor, accusing him of bowing down to China.
“Pathetic, but not nearly as pathetic as the companies who make these movies bending over at every request from the CCP and then lecturing Americans about the immorality of completely average laws they don’t like in places like Georgia and Texas,” one user wrote.
Not a first: The NBA came under fire in 2019 after it apologized to China over a tweet from Houston Rockets manager, Daryl Morey, who expressed support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The move prompted bipartisan criticism from lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
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