Last month, John Cena, star of the new edition to the Fast & Furious franchise, apologized to China and the Chinese people for referring to Taiwan as a country. During an interview with television station TVBS, based in Taipei, Cena said, “Taiwan is the first country that can watch F9.” Uh, oh! Seems that the Chinese didn’t take that well, because China has regarded Taiwan as a breakaway province since the war between the Nationalists and the Communists ended with a Communist victory in 1949. The Nationalists escaped to Taiwan, where they set up their own government. Taiwan has been independent of China, managed by their own democratically-elected government, though many countries, including the United States, refuse to officially recognize it out of deference to China. Even still, the United States has vast “unofficial” ties to Taiwan. China has always insisted that Taiwan belongs to China and has said that it intends to make that a reality someday, even if by force.
So, since the Chinese movie market is so large, lots of dollars were at risk here. So Cena apologized, putting out a message in Mandarin, a language he has been studying, where he said, “I must say, this is very, very, very, very, very, very important. I love and respect China and Chinese people. I am very, very sorry for my mistake. You must understand, I really love and respect China and Chinese people.” Cena added, “I did a lot of interviews. In one interview, I made a mistake.”
By my count, that’s eight “verys,” so Cena must be very sorry. I’m sure he is. He has risked the Fast & Furious franchise losing a gazillion bucks. The franchise has made more money in China than in any other country. Cena is new to the franchise. It would have been bad news for “F9” if they couldn’t expect to make big bucks in their best market because of a “mistake” by the newest member of the cast. The director of the movie, ironically, is Justin Lin, a Taiwanese American, who immigrated to the U. S. when he was eight. I can’t find any reaction from Lin so far on Cena’s “mistake” or his apology.
Movies are about making money. That’s not unreasonable. What is unreasonable is that movies are about making money while Hollywood is rife with personalities who are all too eager to tell us how we should be voting, living our lives, and the causes we should be supporting at any given time. Hollywood is the “wokest” of all institutions, with actors and directors quick to jump on any bandwagon that hints of a social justice motivated movement. Climate change, BLM, so-called voter restrictions, #MeToo, diversity, equity and inclusion, etc. Hollywood is so woke I suspect it never sleeps, too fearful of missing the next important cause or movement or issue to shove down our throats, while we pay them millions for the privilege of watching them pretend to be people they are not (both on screen and off).
What does this lead to? It leads to Hollywood stars who are quick to criticize the American president, demand efforts by the U. S. to combat climate change, and call for justice for minorities in the United States — all while keeping silent on and profiting from a nation that routinely suppresses human rights, is the worst polluter on the planet, and suffers a culture of racism. The only actors I know of who have spoken critically of China are Richard Gere, who was banned from the Academy Awards after speaking out for Tibet in 1993, and Harrison Ford, who also spoke out against China’s policy toward Tibet.
The hypocrisy is stifling. When I read articles like Cena apologizing for hurting China’s feelings about Taiwan, I want to scream. No. You do not apologize to a country that confines people to concentration camps, murders people to harvest their organs for the black market, forces women to have abortions for getting pregnant when the government hasn’t given them permission to get pregnant, pressures independent countries to try to force them into political subjugation, takes away rights and freedoms from a people who have enjoyed them for decades, suppresses religion and jails or exiles religious leaders, and creates a national surveillance system designed to watch every move every citizen makes in an effort to arrest anyone who breaks the rules. You especially do not apologize to such a country and ignore these abuses in order to ensure you make more money.
Jim Sciutto, chief national security correspondent for CNN, was critical of Cena. He tweeted, “Why not call a decades-long healthy and functioning democracy a country? Because much of Hollywood operates in fear of Beijing, many of its blockbuster movies dependent on the mainland Chinese market.”
I have long told my children that it is fine to enjoy the talents of actors who do fine work in movies or TV programs, offering sometimes excellent entertainment or telling meaningful stories. But, I have long told them, as well, to not look to these people as examples of how to live your life or for moral guidance. The hypocrisy of the Hollywood elites is disheartening, especially when the motive behind it is profit.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all..