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John Cena sparks backlash after using Russia invasion of Ukraine to promote HBO show

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Professional wrestler and actor John Cena sparked backlash online after appearing to use the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine to promote a TV show. 

Cena posted on social media that if he could become the titular hero persona “Peacemaker” from his HBO show, now would be the time to do so.

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“If I could somehow summon the powers of a real life #Peacemaker I think this would be a great time to do so,” Cena wrote. The post included a sponsored hashtag for the program, including a custom emoji of the hero’s mask.

Cena was immediately hounded on social media for the comment, which users described as “crazy,” “insensitive” and “cringeworthy.”

“Peacemaker” is a television show on HBO Max following the adventures of the titular character – a brash and jingoistic soldier committed to propagating peace, even through the use of extreme violence.

“PEACEMAKER explores the continuing story of the character that John Cena reprises in the aftermath of executive producer James Gunn’s 2021 film The Suicide Squad – a compellingly vainglorious man who believes in peace at any cost, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it!” HBO writes in its description of the show.

Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine came as a shock to many of its residents now scrambling to escape to safety.

“No one was expecting this,” Tanya Bazanova, a 34-year-old living in the center of Kyiv, told Fox News on Thursday morning. “I am trying to stay calm because panic is not a good thing, but everyone here is panicked. It is not possible to leave the city because of the traffic jams.” 

Ukraine’s foreign minister has called on all NATO allies to cut diplomatic ties with Moscow after Russia invaded early Thursday in the largest military attack on a European nation since WWII.

“Ukraine has severed diplomatic relations with Russia. I call on all our partners to do the same,” Dmytro Kuleba said in a Twitter post. “By this concrete step you will demonstrate that you stand by Ukraine and categorically reject the most blatant act of aggression in Europe since WWII.”

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Cena has previously experienced backlash over his intense support for the Chinese Communist Party. The actor’s movies are widely distributed in China and Cena has made efforts to engage with the Chinese public through interviews and social media videos in Mandarin.

Cena apologized to the people of China after mistakenly referring to Taiwan as a country.

Beijing considers Taiwan a self-ruled democratic island and a province that is part of China. Therefore, referring to it as its own entity is considered offensive in China and disrespectful for some who may use it as an excuse to question Taiwan’s relationship to the country. 

JOHN CENA ISSUES APOLOGY TO CHINA IN MANDARIN AFTER CALLING TAIWAN ITS OWN COUNTRY IN ‘F9’ INTERVIEW

Cena was promoting his role in the upcoming ninth installment of the “Fast and Furious” franchise on a Taiwanese broadcast when he said, in Mandarin, “Taiwan is the first country that can watch ‘F9,’” according to The New York Post.

In order to address the backlash, Cena took to the Chinese social media site Weibo to issue an apology in Mandarin, which he has studied to help promote his wrestling career internationally. He then shared the same video on Twitter

“I made one mistake. I have to say something very, very, very important now. I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m very, very sorry about my mistake. I apologize, I apologize, I’m very sorry. You must understand that I really love, really respect China and the Chinese people. My apologies. See you,” he concluded. 

Fox News’s Laura Taglianetti, Caitlin McFall, and Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.



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