In a segment talking about his backtracking, host Laura Ingraham frothed: “The funny thing is, that guy actually plays a tough guy, right? But he’s really just owned.”
Cena, an actor and former professional wrestling champion, apologised after telling Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS that Taiwan “is the first country” that can watch his new film, Fast & Furious 9. China sees Taiwan as an integral part of its own territory, and rejects any reference to the self-governed island as an independent state.
And so Cena, speaking in Mandarin Chinese, said: “I made a mistake, I must say right now. It’s so so so so so so important, I love and respect Chinese people.”
Continuing with his statement to his 600,000 fans on his Chinese Weibo account, he added: “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.”
But Fox News saw this as ridiculous and was not the only outlet to be riled up by Cena’s attempt at diplomacy. Posting on Twitter, right-wing crank Ben Shapiro said:
And Republican senator Tom Cotton wrote:
China and Taiwan, which are separated by the Taiwan Strait, have had separate governments since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 but Beijing has not ruled out the use of force to take the island back.
Let’s just hope Cena hasn’t triggered a diplomatic incident. But we know that if he has, it will be Fox News who will be the first to call him out.