John Cena is apologizing after calling Taiwan a country while promoting the latest “Fast and the Furious” film, “F9.” The actor and professional wrestler posted the apology Tuesday in Mandarin on the popular Chinese social media site Weibo.
“I made one mistake, I must say right now, very important, I love and respect Chinese people,” Cena said, according to BBC News. “I am very sorry for my mistake. I am so sorry, I apologize.”
Cena’s initial comment came during an interview with TVBS, a Taiwanese broadcast company. The 44-year-old said Taiwan would be the first “country” to see the ninth installment of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise.
His comment sparked outrage on Chinese social media sites as Taiwan’s status remains a heated topic. Beijing considers the self-governed Taiwan to be part of its territory and opposes the idea that its an independent state, BBC News reported.
China and Taiwan have been governed separately since 1949 but Beijing has tried to limit Taiwan’s international influence and has not ruled out using force to reclaim the island, according to BBC News.