Monster Hunter removed from Chinese cinemas after alleged racist scene sparks boycott

By Xu Keyue and Ji Yuqiao Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/6 23:15:33

Poster of the film Monster Hunter Photo: Weibo

A multinational production movie Monster Hunter, adapted from a video game, has been pulled from China's cinemas after a short scene outraged netizens who called it racist and an insult to Chinese people. They called for a boycott of the movie after its debut on Friday. 

Several Beijing-based cinemas confirmed with the Global Times on Sunday that the film was required to be removed on Saturday.

After raking in 33.4 million yuan ($5.19 million) on its opening day on Friday, the film's second-day box office was only 1.18 million yuan. 

The offending clip features a soldier who shouts "Look at my knees!" "What kind of knees are these?" asks his companion. "Chinese!" jokes the soldier while emphasizing the second syllable to a pun.

Although the Chinese subtitle used the word "gold" as an answer to the quest, the character can clearly be heard saying "Chinese." 

The phrase "Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees" is a racist playground chant in English-speaking countries, used to mock children of Asian origin.

The word "knees" is used in the Chinese proverb "There is gold under the knee of a man," to signify people should have dignity and not grovel or bow. 

According to a screenshot of a notice circulating on Sina Weibo, cinemas are requested to cancel all upcoming screenings of the movie and refund moviegoers. The authenticity of the notice has yet to be confirmed.

"Watch your mouth and be respectful otherwise don't vainly hope to make money in the Chinese market," said a netizen on Chinese Twitter-liked social media platform Sina Weibo.

"Trying to make money from Chinese while making fun of Chinese is daydream," read another typical comment.

A netizen shared a screenshot of a scene of the game Monster Hunter, where one player asks "What kind of cans are these?" while another replies "American", with the Chinese translation of "garbage can." 

Many netizens warned cinemas not to edit the insulting scene and re-release a new version as they are definitely prepared to relaunch their boycott campaign.

"The root cause of the withdrawal is the racist lines," Shi Wenxue, film and cultural critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Shi said now that the original version is known to contain the racist insult, it's not likely a new version will be released.

The producer of the video game said on Friday on Weibo that the movie and the game are produced by different companies. 

Posted in: FILM

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