This was a hell of a way to find out that John Cena speaks Mandarin.
The Fast & Furious Movies make a ton of money around the world, but their biggest market outside of the US is China, where they are loved.
During promotion Fast 9who is already in China, Cena said Taiwan was the first “country” to watch Fast and Furious 9 in the an interview with the Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS (in Chinese).
For those of you who didn’t know, there is an ongoing dispute between Taiwan and China. Taiwan wants to be an independent country, and China wants them to be recognized as part of their country. You can read it BBC reporting on the topic to stay up to date.
Cena knows that Fast must do well internationally. As a movie star, he always wants his films to make money, including in China. He especially knows the value of this market. As a wrestler, he went out of his way to learn their language for his world tours. When Chinese social media invaded him, he knew he had to apologize.
It’s a good video, and early responses from Chinese social media seem to forgive the star and the snafu. While some cenas claimed that China owned Taiwan, most understood its lack of knowledge of the situation and its formulation problems.
This situation points to Hollywood’s bigger problem with China. The market is so big that you don’t want to defy the system, but when China does things that people find unsavory, there is a debate in Hollywood about how to deal with it.
There doesn’t seem to be a right answer and money is the most important factor.
Let us know what you think in the comments.