Recently, Paul W.S. Anderson’s adaptation (?) of Capcom’s Monster Hunter video games was hit with a big, toothy sword of controversy when audiences in China—where it just premiered—objected to a line from Asian-American actor Jin Au-Yeung (a.k.a. MC Jin) that was either a terrible joke or a reference to a racist schoolyard rhyme. The backlash was so swift and brutal that the movie was pulled from most theaters in China, potentially slaughtering its box office hopes like they were some kind of special Rathalos (that’s a Monster Hunter thing). After all, barring a miracle, the movie doesn’t stand to make much money at the U.S. box office, so losing out on the Chinese market as well could be devastating.
Now, after days of silence, Anderson has finally released a statement on the controversy, apologizing for the offending line and saying that it has been removed from the movie (though it’s unclear if that means it will also be removed for markets outside of China, as Monster Hunter isn’t out in the U.S. yet). Anderson also notes that the movie is supposed to be “fun entertainment” and he’s “mortified that anything within it has caused unintentional offense,” saying that the movie is supposed to be about “unity” and that he never meant to “send a message of discrimination or disrespect to anyone.” Here’s his statement in full (via Deadline):
I am absolutely devastated that a line from our movie, Monster Hunter, has offended some audience members in China. I apologize for any anxiety or upset that this line and its interpretation caused. Monster Hunter was made as fun entertainment and I am mortified that anything within it has caused unintentional offense. We have respectfully removed the line from the movie. It was never our intention to send a message of discrimination or disrespect to anyone. To the contrary — at its heart our movie is about unity.
Jin Au-Yeung has also apologized, posting a nearly three-minute video on his Instagram in which he says that he needed to address the situation “because what is at stake is not my career but something even more dear to my heart: my roots.”