Donnie Yen addressed the petition controversy to remove him from the 2023 Oscars presenter due to his Chinese government support.
During an interview with Variety, the Ip Man star said, “I’m allowed to love my own culture. Love my own country. 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.”
Earlier, the Hong Kong activist Tong Wai-hung started the petition, claiming the Yen inclusion decision “shows contempt for the people of Hong Kong” and that Yen’s presence will “damage the image and reputation of the film industry.”
Previously, speaking to GQ last month, the John Wick actor reiterated his opposition to the 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
“It wasn’t a protest, okay, it was a riot,” Yen continued. “I’m not going to be here talking about how to change how people feel about it. But my own experience, like, I was there, I have many friends who were there.
“I don’t want to get political. A lot of people might not be happy for what I’m saying, but I’m speaking from my own experience.”
The petition calls Yen’s recent remarks as “violating the spirit of freedom of speech” and “denying the rights of the people of Hong Kong to fight for their freedom.”
The 59-year-old, though born in southern China, but shifted to Hong Kong at two years old, said he feels “very lucky” in regards to his success: “Every time when I feel like my life has a downturn. Something good happens. And we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
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