One day after the Golden Globes, entertainment journalists were sent into mild panic when alerted to the fact that the next major awards ceremony would not be for another 40 days. Faced with over five weeks of baseless speculation as to which impossibly glamorous millionaire would take home a gold(-plated) statuette, junior copywriters from ‘news’ outlets across the world were already preparing their list of different ways to say ‘Oscar-nominated’, so as not to use the phrase ‘Oscar-nominated’, like, a bajillion times in a empty articles claiming to provide new insight on Oscar-nominated actors.
Thankfully for them, a brief respite has come this week in the form of Jackie Chan, who said something on Chinese TV this week that can be construed as controversial, if needed. And yes, it is needed.
According to a report from Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, Chan “sparked controversy by branding America the world’s “most corrupt” country in a TV interview.” Appearing on Phoenix TV to promote his latest film CZ12, the topic of conversation soon turned political when Chan expressed the opinion that China has been bullied by international powers for a long time and only began making progress in recent years.
He admitted to China’s reputation for corruption before quickly turning his attention to America: “If you talk about corruption, the entire world – America – has no corruption?” said the actor, presumably referring to the conspiracy that led to Rush Hour 3′s box office failure.
He went on to elaborate that America is “the most corrupt [country] in the world” – not China. “Where does this great breakdown [of corruption] come from? It started exactly from the [rest of the] world, the United States … If our own countrymen don’t support our country, who will?” he said, displaying the sort of logic and verbal facility that have made his blooper reels so enjoyable in the past.
This statement, while possible to interpret as an affable actor’s attempt to an appease a Chinese TV audience unfamiliar with being told that their country is anything less than number one. Could it be that he used an exaggeration in the heat of the moment? Commenters on Twitter, however, have chosen to see this as a shot across the bow of the good ship America:
Hey Jackie Chan, can you give us Americans back our corrupt dollars? We did go see all your movies after all.
Jackie chan thinks the USA is the most corrupt in the world. Really? What’s china? Give back the money u made here & go back to hong kong!
and of course,
F**k you Jackie Chan
As with many Twitter discussions directed towards celebrities with political opinions, these comments are effectively saying “Hey! We once purchased one of your movies so you OWE us. Assimilate our opinion or die.” Which is exactly how democracy works, right?
Taking the opportunity to tackle this issue head-on, Jackie Chan’s official twitter account released the following apology:
Did you know Jackie is a respected and talented singer? http://bit.ly/JackieLovestoSing …
Sadly, this story will likely prove to be a tiny storm in an even tinier teacup. Jackie said nothing that is either incorrect or particularly controversial and Twitter has an attention span that can be measured in minutes at best. By this time next week, we will have forgotten all about Jackie Chan, Communist agitprop; and instead we’ll be going back to doing pieces on our favourite dresses from red carpet history or perhaps composing a fun piece about a psychic ocelot who can pick Oscar winners. You know, normal entertainment news.