John Cena Apologizes to China for Calling Taiwan a Country: 'I Made a Mistake'
By Liz Calvario
John Cena is apologizing for mistaking Taiwan as a country.
During an interview with Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS, Cena reportedly said, "Taiwan is the first country that can watch [F9]," while promoting his upcoming action movie. The former wrestler received backlash after his initial comments, as the island is considered by Beijing as a territory claimed by China.
Cena later posted a video in Mandarin on Weibo, a Chinese social network, apologizing for the error. Over the years, Cena has studied the language and regularly posts on the platform.
"I made a mistake,” Cena said, 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's comments bring up the divisiveness of Hollywood and China. Many celebrities and industry figures are oftentimes seen as making comments that are seen as political, while Hollywood studios have been criticized for their relationship with China and allegedly making content to not offend the country.
Meanwhile, F9 is set to be released on June 25. The film was originally set for release in April 2019, but was delayed several times -- first by the release of spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, and then by the coronavirus pandemic, which has kept movie theaters closed over the past year.
The new film introduces a previously unknown member of the Toretto nuclear family, Dom and Mia's brother, Jakob, played by Cena. Jakob is a master thief, assassin, and a high-performance driver who poses a major threat to Dom. Cena raved to ET about joining the franchise, which he called the "opportunity of a lifetime."
"Fighting Dom Toretto in The Fast & The Furious is like being in the main event of Wrestlemania. You get thrust in there with a marquee talent on a blockbuster film franchise, you have to deliver," he said, teasing his intense showdowns with Diesel. "I think the theme here is Dom Toretto finally, after eight installments, facing the one thing that he never can [run from], and that's his past."