A slip of the tongue during one of his many interviews promoting F9, John Cena faced a ton of backlash from Chinese fans after he described Taiwan as a country. The story was even covered by CNN after drawing anger from the communist country.
Cena, who spoke in Mandarin, said during an interview with Taiwan’s TVBS that “Taiwan is the first country that can watch F9.” Taiwan is technically part of China but the two sides have been at odds for over 70 years.
On the popular Chinese social media website Weibo, the former 16-time world champion apologized to China and to the Chinese, saying that he made a mistake during one of his interviews.
In the apology, delivered also in Mandarin, Cena said that it’s very important to let them know that he loves and respect China and the Chinese people. Chinese moviegoers flocked to cinemas to see F9, spending $136 million over the weekend to see the movie.
The apology received mixed reactions from fans, some saying he didn’t do enough, and some saying he went above and beyond what other actors and actresses failed to do before him.