Several Chinese streaming platforms have pulled movies and video content featuring actor Keanu Reeves after he showed his support for Tibet earlier this month, according to a new report.
At least 19 of Reeves’ films have been removed from Tencent Video, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday, after the Canadian actor took part in a benefit concert for Tibet House, a New York-based non-profit organization affiliated with the Dalai Lama.
Reeves’ attendance at the event is controversial as Beijing disputes Tibetan independence claims and considers the Dalai Lama, who is Spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, as a “separatist”.
News that Reeves was planning to take part in the March 3 event broke in January right after his new film, The Matrix: Resurrections, made its debut in China. It is the first blockbuster film to appear on Chinese screens in more than two months due to the country’s strict censorship process, according to the report.
The film remained in theaters, despite Chinese nationalists vowing to boycott the film.
However, several Chinese streaming sites removed Reeves’ filmography from their sites last Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The matrix trilogy, Speed, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Something’s Gotta Give, and The lake house all were victims of censorship.
“Sorry, no results related to ‘Keanu Reeves’ were found,” the iQiyi platform said, according to the report, before adding, “Due to relevant laws, regulations and policies, some results are not displayed. “
All of Reeves’ movies except one, toy story 4, have been removed from the Youku and Migu Video platforms. Bilibili and Xigua Video also pulled Reeves’ films.
While toy story 4 was allowed to remain on multiple streaming platforms, the report says the credits were changed to only include the local Chinese dub cast, without mentioning Reeves.
Meanwhile, although content related to the Matrix movies and some of the actor’s other works are still viewable on Chinese messaging service WeChat, searches for his English name and Chinese translation yielded no results. reported Reuters.
Alex Yu, researcher at the US Chinese digital time, told the newspaper that it is unclear if Chinese regulatory agencies mandated the removals or if the platforms were working alone to proactively remove the content.
Reeves is far from the first celebrity to face the consequences of China after expressing his support for Tibet, including Richard Gere, Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga, according to the report. Meanwhile, NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom was blocked last year on Chinese social media and video platforms after speaking out about China’s actions in Tibet.
Reeves, however, has been a household name in China since the 90s, which makes his ousting all the more surprising. He benefited greatly from his stardom in China, especially in 2013 when he made his directorial debut with Sir of Tai Chi, an official US-Chinese co-production promoted by public production partner China Film Group.
In the same year, Reeves’ company, Company Films, signed a co-development agreement with Chinese company Fundamental Films for more China-related projects, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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