A Wrestler Kowtows; a Musician Stands Up

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Wrestler and actor John Cena in Miami, Jan. 31, 2020.



Photo:

Scott Roth/Associated Press

Professional wrestling isn’t known to be especially woke, but commercial pressure got to wrestler and actor

John Cena.

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

Mike Pompeo,

Megyn Kelly

and Sens.

Tom Cotton,

Marco Rubio

and

Rick Scott.

Podcaster

Andrew Zarian

reported that the apology “is NOT going over well at

WWE,

” whose former CEO

Linda McMahon

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

Sean Lennon,

son of

John Lennon

and

Yoko Ono,

sent out a long

Twitter

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

Stephen Harper.

Main Street: Unlike Hollywood’s woke, at least its Communists could make good movies. Images: Everett Collection/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the June 3, 2021, print edition.

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