Professional wrestling isn’t known to be especially woke, but commercial pressure got to wrestler and actor
In a May 25 interview conducted in Mandarin, Mr. Cena told the Taiwanese news station TVBS that “Taiwan is the first country that can watch ‘F9.’ ” The latest “Fast & Furious” sequel, in which Mr. Cena has a supporting role, opens in the U.S. later this month.
Chinese social-media sites like Weibo soon filled with attacks on Mr. Cena for describing Taiwan as a “country.” Beijing’s official line is that it’s a renegade province. Mr. Cena took to Weibo to deliver a groveling apology.
“I made a mistake, I must say right now. It’s so, so, so, so, so, so important—I love and respect Chinese people,” the former 15-time World Wrestling Entertainment champion pleaded, again in Mandarin. “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.” The apology didn’t specify the “mistake” or even mention Taiwan.
Mr. Cena’s submission drew a fresh backlash on American social media, including tweets from
reported that the apology “is NOT going over well at
” whose former CEO
ran twice for U.S. Senate as a Republican (with Mr. Cena’s endorsement) and served in the Trump administration.
In a similarly stereotype-challenging move, two days earlier musician
sent out a long
thread attacking political correctness. Mr. Lennon, 45, wrote that although he had encountered anti-Asian prejudice in his youth, “I grew up in a time when there was zero political correctness. I literally saw political correctness being invented right in front of me (at certain schools) and then distributed and eventually enforced as a mindset and ideology.”
While allowing that “PC culture has achieved some good and some progress for society,” he wrote: “I suspect that over sensitizing ppl to arbitrary characteristics like skin colour may be doing more harm than good.”
In the space of three days, a professional wrestler kowtowed to communists abroad and the son of a man who famously described himself as an “instinctive socialist” challenged leftist orthodoxy at home. Maybe it’s true that only Nixon can go to China.
Mr. Taube, a columnist for Troy Media and Loonie Politics, was a speechwriter for former Canadian Prime Minister
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Appeared in the June 3, 2021, print edition.