Out you go, Neo! Go kick rocks, John Wick! The world’s most populous nation has yanked Keanu Reeves’ movies from numerous streaming services after his participation in a concert for a nonprofit that supports Tibet.
While it’s no secret that the Chinese Communists are sensitive to anything remotely resembling criticism, Keanu Reeves seems an unlikely target for their busy censors. He is noted for headlining iconic movie franchises such as The Matrix, John Wick, and even Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure–if you consider that to be iconic.
Fans and nonfans alike in the last decade have become familiar with stories of the megastar’s humility and genuine likeability. That, however, is not good enough for Beijing, which considers Tibet to be a part of China and has gone to great lengths to eradicate its culture.
After Reeves participated in a benefit concert for Tibet House, a New York organization affiliated with Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, the backlash from the communist giant began.
First it was nationalistic Chinese social media users, called “little pinks” for their hypersensitive and hyper-nationalist defense of the motherland from every slight–real or imagined. Calls rained down for Reeves’ work to be cleansed from the Chinese market.
Then it actually started happening.
On platforms from iQiyi and Tencent Video to Youku and Migu Video, nearly everything that has Keanu Reeves’ fingerprints is nowhere to be found. Search for The Matrix, you hear crickets. Have a need to see Speed? Good luck finding it.
Reeves is not the first American celebrity to rankle the Chinese communists. For many years, Richard Gere was persona non grata for his advocacy for Tibetan self-rule, a stance that even saw him banned from the Academy Awards for years after criticizing the Chinese government on stage in 1993.
Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga, and Selena Gomez are all on the country’s most unfavored celebrities list for voicing support for the Tibetan people. Gomez is blackballed for having the nerve to be photographed with the Dalai Lama.
These should be seen as badges of honor, awarded for standing up to the little pinks and the big communist dictatorship that is China. There are far too many examples of people with power and influence–we mean you NBA — ignoring human rights for the right to make money in the Chinese market. Good for you, Keanu.