Donnie Yen slammed a petition that called for his removal from the Oscars over his support for China.
Days before his appearance at last month’s basement-rated Academy Awards, a Change.org petition earned tens of thousands of signatures calling for the Oscars to blacklist Yen over his support for China’s government.
As of today, the petition has 115,361 signatures.
“We, a group of people from Hong Kong, are writing to express our concern about your decision to invite an actor who supports the Chinese Communist Party’s violation of human rights, Donnie Yen, as a presenter for the Oscars,” reads the petition. “As a globally recognized film award, the Oscars should represent respect for human rights and moral values, rather than support for actions that violate them.”
“We demand that the Oscars Committee reconsider this decision and cancel the invitation of Donnie Yen as a presenter for the Oscars,” the petition concludes. “Let us work together to uphold human rights and moral values, and make the Oscars a truly respectful award.”
In an interview with Variety this week, Yen defended himself.
“I’m allowed to love my own culture. Love my own country,” he asked. “Why cannot I be patriotic? This whole online cyber-bullying/cancel culture has got to stop. You can’t own somebody’s thoughts. And you want to silence them? It’s totally hypocrites.”
While I’m no fan of the Chinese Nazis who run that country, I’m also no fan of blacklisting people in this country over their political views.
Maybe Yen is sincere in his affection for China’s Nazis. I hope not, but if he is, that should not cost him work in America. You should have the right to hold appalling political views in this country.
But did anyone who launched or signed that petition take into account that 1) they are acting like China’s censors or 2) that the 59-year-old might have family back home he doesn’t want to see hurt?
Put yourself in his position. We have all kinds of people in this country who are afraid to say a man cannot magically transform into a woman. Imagine what it’s like living in the concentration camp called China.
Yen is also no hypocrite on the issue of free speech. Here’s what he said in the same Variety interview about Quentin Tarantino’s depiction of Bruce Lee in his masterpiece Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019):
Yen finds it hard to watch his cultural heritage bastardized in American films. He bristles at Quentin Tarantino’s depiction of martial arts legend Bruce Lee in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
“Everybody is entitled to their opinions,” Yen explains. “Quentin Tarantino is a very renowned filmmaker, and he’s entitled to his status. And I’m entitled to state my own view. Obviously, he was making fun of Bruce. It was cartoonish.”
And I love Bruce Lee but I also loved Tarantino lampooning Bruce Lee’s well-established ego. No one is above satire, including The Mighty Bruce Lee. Still, Yen is entitled to his opinion. Tarantino is entitled to his opinion. I’m entitled to my opinion. That’s how this is supposed to work in America, and it should work without 115,361 bullies taking to the Internet to blacklist you.
Oh, and what a great way to show Mr. Yen how superior American democracy is to China—you know, by punishing him over his political opinions.
Great job, y’all.
Way to hold up American ideals.
P.S. Donnie Yen is dynamite in John Wick 4.
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