‘I am really sorry’: WWE legend Cena apologizes to China after calling Taiwan ‘country’ in promotion of new movie (VIDEO)
Cena's comments came in an interview with a local Taiwanese broadcaster, where he remarked in the Mandarin language how "Taiwan is the first country that can watch 'F9'".
With China claiming Taiwan as an integral part of its country, the incident caused controversy back on the mainland, which prompted Cena into making his plea for forgiveness.
John Cena apologized in Chinese on Sina Weibo after calling Taiwan a country during an interview promoting Fast & Furious 9 pic.twitter.com/dzRKIYgEzL— Joe Xu (@JoeXu) May 24, 2021
Again in Mandarin, Cena explained how he'd conducted "many, many interviews" to promote his new film and had made "one mistake."
"In one interview, I made a mistake," he said. "I am really sorry. I really respect China and the Chinese people. Sorry."
Cena doubled down on his apology through the video's caption, which read: "I love and respect China and Chinese people."
But not everyone bought it.
One reply, which has over 7,000 'likes', demanded: "Please say 'Taiwan is a part of China' in Chinese. Otherwise, we don't accept [your apology]."
"You are being evasive," wrote another.
In his home country, Cena was called a "wuss" on Fox News by Business host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery.
"He did it because he is an absolute wuss and the studio probably had got on the phone and told him to do that because films aren't making any money in the US because theaters have been locked down for over a year," she insisted.
Laura Ingraham also criticized Cena by saying: "The funny thing is that guy actually plays a tough guy, right? But he's really just owned."
Being discouraged by failure is normal, being detained by failure can be toxic. Learn, rise, grow. Never give up.— John Cena (@JohnCena) May 25, 2021
Back on Weibo, a Chinese user suggested that the "best thing is not to answer questions related to China at all" as "there are [always] people who find faults".
"I hope these people will let John Cena off," another stated.
"All of a sudden, the collective boycott in the comments section is outrageous and too sensitive.
"John Cena likes China, loves Chinese people and Chinese culture. We WWE fans can see it."
In the ninth Fast and Furious film in question, Cena plays a new villain called Jakob.
Its studio Universal have already released the movie in multiple markets, including the highly-lucrative one found in China, before its premiere on US soil June 25.
If you're wondering how John Cena is speaking Mandarin, he started learning it back when WWE was making a big play to get the Network launched in China. There was a big promo tour where they signed a bunch of Chinese talent to developmental deals.— Phil Dy (@philbertdy) May 26, 2021
Starring in four films in 2021 alone, the 16-time WWE champion will be eager to mend fences with the Chinese and has in the past made a series of videos from the city of Yinchuan for the wrestling promotion in which he tries ice skating, supermarket shopping and typical street food.
So far, the latter clip has been viewed over 20 million times.