While promoting Fast & Furious 9, actor John Cena called Taiwan a country, causing disapproval amongst Chinese fans. In response, he has issued an apology for his comments in fluent Mandarin on a number of Chinese social media platforms.
Fast & Furious 9 - also known as F9 - was actually intended to release two years ago, and had five different release dates before it was eventually set for May 19th, 2021. This was due to the releases of Hobbs & Shaw and No Time to Die as well as the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.
The Fast & Furious franchise raises the bar every time with even more ludicrous stunts and car chases that break the laws of physics. Of course, things are a little easier in GTA, but even these tricks are melting our minds. Check out this extremely satisfying synchronised drifting compilation below.
At the moment, the movie is reported to have raked in $163 million from eight countries, which bags it the achievement of the biggest international opening since the pandemic started in March 2020. Of this total, $136 million came from Chinese cinemagoers, and Fast & Furious 9 secured the second biggest-ever opening of the franchise in the country. Obviously, this is a flying start for the movie and to capitalise on this forward momentum, John Cena sang the praises of Fast & Furious 9 in an interview with Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS.
However, in the interview, he said that "Taiwan is the first country that can watch" the movie which has ticked off a lot of Chinese fans. This is because the political status of Taiwan is a contentious point for the People's Republic of China. Despite being a separate self-governing entity, the majority of Chinese people consider it to be a part of China and to insinuate otherwise is a serious affront.
"I made a mistake," said Cena in Mandarin in a video published to Weibo. Cena learned Mandarin several years ago in order to broaden the reach of WWE and he can conduct press conferences with fluency. "Now I have to say one thing which is very, very, very important: I love and respect China and Chinese people." He is hardly the first actor to have landed in hot water like this: other celebrities like Brad Pitt, Bjork and Harrison Ford have also been criticised by Chinese people for their political opinions on the country. "I'm very sorry for my mistakes. Sorry. Sorry. I'm really sorry. You have to understand that I love and respect China and Chinese people," he continued.
The New York Times claims that his evident regret hasn't changed the tune of Chinese fans, who have requested that he say "Taiwan is part of China" in Mandarin for his apology to be accepted. Whether this will affect the success of the movie in the country after its opening weekend remains to be seen.
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