HomeEntertainmentKeanu Reeves’ ‘The Matrix: Resurrections’ Facing China Boycott: Here’s Why

Keanu Reeves’ ‘The Matrix: Resurrections’ Facing China Boycott: Here’s Why

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Sam Santos/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Pictures Canada)

The recent announcement of actor Keanu Reeves‘ involvement with an upcoming benefit concert for Tibet has drawn the ire of many in China. In fact, Chinese nationalists have retaliated by suggesting a boycott of Reeves’ most recent movie, The Matrix Resurrections.

The Chinese nationalists have used social media to spread the word about boycotting the film. The Matrix Resurrections performed poorly in China already with earnings of only $12.4 million so far. So a boycott of the movie likely won’t have a huge impact. However, it could have major implications going forward for Keanu Reeves and whether or not his future films are welcomed in the country.

Earlier this week, the 35th annual Tibet House U.S. Benefit Concert revealed that Reeves would be one of its headline performers. The March 3rd event will also include artists Patti Smith, Phish’s Trey Anastasio, and Jason Isbell. The concert supports the Tibet House, which is a nonprofit established by supporters of the Dalai Lama. Authorities in Beijing have deemed it a separatist organization pushing for Tibet’s independence from China.

Keanu Reeves Wouldn’t Be the First Celebrity to Face Bans in China

Over the years, Keanu Reeves has built a sizable fanbase in China. He has Chinese ancestry on his father’s side, and filmed Man of Tai Chi in the country with the support of the state-backed China Film Group. Yet his involvement in the upcoming Tibet benefit concert could tarnish his personal brand in the country. In fact, multiple celebrities have been cut out of China’s huge entertainment market after voicing support for Tibet.

In 1993, China banned projects from actor Richard Gere because of his vocal support for Tibetan independence. Iconic actor Brad Pitt faced a similar ban after starring in 1997’s Seven Years in Tibet. Further, in 2016, China banned singer Lady Gaga from performing in the country after she met with the Dalai Lama. Keanu Reeves could eventually face similar sanctions in China following his involvement with the upcoming Tibet benefit concert.

‘The Matrix’ Actor Opens Up About His Asian Identity

As mentioned, Keanu Reeves has both Hawaiian and Chinese ancestry on his father’s side. The Hollywood star doesn’t speak about his roots often, but recently opened up about his identity with NBC Asian America.

“My relationship to my Asian identity, it’s always been good and healthy,” Reeves said to the outlet. “And I love it. We’ve been growing up together.”

Recently, he’s been referenced as a “person of color,” which he also responded to in the interview. “I don’t know if I agree with that statement, but I don’t not agree,” Keanu Reeves added.