Movies starring Keanu Reeves have reportedly been scrubbed from China streaming platforms such as Tencent Video, Youku and Migu Video following the actor’s public support for Tibet earlier this year. Reeves was announced in January as a performer for the 35th annual Tibet House Benefit Concert alongside Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith, Cyndi Lauper and Iggy Pop. Philip Glass serves as the benefit’s artistic director. The event took place virtually for the second year in a row earlier this month.
After Reeves’ participation in the Tibet benefit was announced, Chinese nationalists took to social media in protest of the actor. China rejects claims of Tibetan independence and has long blackballed artists who have expressed support for Tibet and/or the Dalai Lama. Reeves’ support for the Tibet benefit went public just as “The Matrix Resurrections” was opening in China, but the action sequel was boycotted by nationalists and underwhelmed at the box office.
Following the Tibet House benefit this month, dozens of Reeves movie have now been scrubbed off streaming platforms in China. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, at least 19 movies were pulled from Tencent Video. Every Reeves movie save for his voice role in “Toy Story 3” was pulled off top streamers Youku and Migu Video. Other platforms such as Bilibili and Xigua Video also reportedly saw Reeves movies scrubbed. Although “Toy Story 3” remains on streaming, its credits feature the local dubbing cast when mentioning voice talent, and thus Reeves is not credited.
A search for Reeves on the platform iQiyi reportedly gives users the following message: “Sorry, no results related to ‘Keanu Reeves’ were found. Due to relevant laws, regulations and policies, some results are not shown.”
According to the Times, scrubbed Reeves movies include the original “Matrix” trilogy, “Speed,” “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” “Something’s Gotta Give” and “The Lake House.” The Times adds: “It’s unclear who ordered the deletions, China’s regulatory agencies or platforms acting proactively to remove potentially troublesome content.”
Variety reached out to Reeves’ representatives but did not hear back by press time.
Hollywood stars who have previously shown support for or affiliation with any individuals or organizations that are seen as pro-Tibetan independence — a taboo in the Chinese Communist Party-ruled country — could be banned from China. Past cases include Richard Gere, who lost movie deals because of his firm stance on Tibet and close ties with the 14th Dalai Lama, and Selena Gomez, for taking a picture with the Dalai Lama.