While the future of movie theaters in the United States may have become more fraught this week thanks to WarnerMedia and HBO Max, movies are still reaching the silver screen, especially in other, less diseased nations. But one new release from Sony has generated its own controversy and saw it pulled from Chinese theaters over accusations of racism.
Monster Hunter, the Milla Jovovich feature based on the video game series of the same name, was pulled from theaters in China on Friday after backlash over a scene perceived as racist. According to Deadline, the movie was pulled from theaters because of a 10-second scene that drew outrage from some in the country over its racist language.
The 10-second scene that has generated an outcry features Asian-American rapper/actor Jin Au-Yeung (aka MC Jin), who at one point riffs to his scene partner, “Look at my knees. What kind of knees are these? Chinese.” This is being linked to a racist playground rhyme used to mock children of Asian origin. Upset, we understand, has further been sewn by the scene’s local subtitles.
It’s our understanding that the reaction has taken those involved in the film by surprise. It’s particularly notable given any movie vying for a Chinese theatrical release goes through a rigorous vetting process by censors, and this element was evidently never flagged.
Much of the backlash to the line played out online, which caused the movie to get pulled on its first day of official release. As Deadline pointed out, distribution company Tencent is working with the government in China to remove the scene from the movie, but it’s unclear if it will return to theaters there.