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The professional wrestler and a star of Universal’s Fast & Furious feature F9 made his initial comment during a promotional interview for the upcoming movie, which has grossed $163 million globally so far.
“I made a mistake,” Cena said in his apology video, according to The New York Times. “Now I have to say one thing which is very, very, very important: I love and respect China and Chinese people. 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.”
Cena made the Taiwan comment in an interview with Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS, where he reportedly said, “Taiwan is the first country that can watch [F9].”
Taiwan is considered by Beijing as a territory claimed by the People’s Republic of China.
The Cena matter highlighted the fraught relationship between Hollywood and China. Entertainment industry figures, including professional sports players, have been criticized for comments perceived as political. And Hollywood studios have been criticized over claims that they shape content to avoid offending Chinese government censors.
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Sterling K. Brown