Hollywood star Keanu Reeves is reportedly facing social media backlash in China after it was announced he will participate in a benefit concert for Tibet House U.S., the New York cultural center dedicated to Tibetan heritage.
Keanu Reeves is set to perform in the March 3 virtual concert, which is being organized by composer and longtime Tibet supporter Philip Glass. Musicians set to appear include Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, and Laurie Anderson.
The Matrix star’s participation isn’t going over well with his fans in China. according to a report in Singapore’s The Straits Times. “I used to be a fan of Reeves not only because he’s a great actor, but also because he has Chinese heritage,” said one Weibo user. “But apparently we hold different views on Tibetan issues and it’s a no-brainer for me to stop liking him because of that.”
The backlash comes as the most recent Matrix movie — The Matrix: Resurrections — has become the latest Hollywood blockbuster to flop in China, grossing a paltry $7.5 million on its opening weekend.
Some in China are calling for a boycott of Matrix: Resurrections due to Reeves’ involvement in the Tibet concert, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.
Communist China invaded and seized control of Tibet in 1951, ushering in a period of genocide and religious oppression for the predominantly Buddhist country. Hollywood figures who have expressed sympathy for Tibet and the exiled Dalai Lama have faced retaliation from China, including actor Richard Gere and filmmaker Martin Scorsese.
Keanu Reeves has expressed interest in Buddhism throughout his career, even starring the 1993 Bernardo Bertolucci movie Little Buddha, which was shot in Bhutan and Nepal. In the movie, Reeves played Prince Siddartha, who gives up his lavish life to pursue enlightenment and become the Buddha.
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