This is according to the film’s director Paul W.S. Anderson, who also apologised for the “unintentional offense”, in a statement to Deadline. Production house Constantin Film and Asian-American actor Jin Au-Yeung, who said the line in the movie, have also apologised for the gaff.
The action-adventure film was pulled from Chinese cinemas on Saturday (December 5) after filmgoers and netizens took offense to lines of dialogue that were perceived as a reference to a racial slur.
In the movie, an Asian male character says “Look at my knees!” while the other character asks “What kind of knees are these?”. Jin then replies “Chi-nese!” Viewers have compared the lines to a racist playground joke which goes: “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees – look at these”.
“I am absolutely devastated that a line from our movie, Monster Hunter, has offended some audience members in China. I apologise for any anxiety or upset that this line and its interpretation caused,” Anderson said.
“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 addressed the controversy on Instagram with a three-minute-long video, which also features subtitles in Chinese. “I felt a need to address this situation because what is at stake is not my career but something even more dear to my heart – my roots,” he said. “I’ve spent the last 20 years using my platform to embrace and be a positive voice for my community. I am and will always be proud of my heritage.”
Meanwhile, Constantin Film have stated that there was “absolutely no intent to discriminate, insult or otherwise offend anyone of Chinese heritage” in a statement to Bloomberg. However, the production house did not confirm if the film will be re-released in China after the removal of the controversial line.
Monster Hunter is set to hit US cinemas on December 18. The film, which also stars Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, T.I. and Meagan Good, will be released in the UK and the rest of Europe sometime in 2021.