Fast & Furious 9 star John Cena apologizes on Weibo after calling Taiwan a country – Global Times
John Cena Photo: CFP
US actor and WWE star John Cena on Tuesday apologized on Chinese social media after falsely indicating that the island of Taiwan is a country in a promotion video for his latest film Fast & Furious 9 to the island’s audience.
Speaking in Chinese, Cena apologized to Chinese viewers through a clip posted on his Weibo account, saying he had made a mistake and he was very sorry about it.
“I must say that now, very importantly, I love and respect China and Chinese people,” Cena said in Chinese in his video, without elaborating on what mistake he had made.
Cena stirred a controversy in early May when he participated in promotional activities for Fast & Furious 9 on the island of Taiwan and said it was the first “country” that could watch the film.
Cena’s apology was welcomed by some Chinese netizens, who said he may have been guided by misinformation.
“As Cena said, he is given a lot of information every day, so it’s possible that in the interview in Taiwan, he was deliberately given the wrong information and made a slip of the tongue… but at least he came up and corrected his mistake, rather than hiding and not responding to it,” said another Weibo user.
Others said Cena should explicitly state what he had done wrong and mention Taiwan’s ties with the mainland.
Fast and Furious 9 was originally scheduled to be released on May 19 on the island of Taiwan, but has been postponed due to the recent COVID-19 surge, local media said.
On May 18, the film team held a press briefing in the Chinese mainland with a virtual attendance from Cena and the film’s star Vin Diesel.
During the press conference, Vin Diesel said he was grateful to Chinese mainland audiences for supporting the Fast and Furious series, which led him to do something unprecedented: He asked the film company to release Fast and Furious 9 in the Chinese mainland first, as a way of thanking mainland fans.
The film was officially released on the Chinese mainland on May 21. Fast & Furious 9 has seen box-office earnings of 949 million yuan ($148 million) as of Tuesday morning. Its 317-million-yuan opening day box office ranks among the top five first-day grosses of imported films in the history of the mainland film market, media reported.
Fast & Furious 9 earned $162 million during this weekend, of which a massive $135 million came from China, media said.