In early March, Reeves appeared at a virtual concert hosted by New York based nonprofit, Tibet House US, which is “dedicated to preserving Tibet’s unique culture at a time when it is confronted with extinction on its own soil,” and was founded at the request of the Dalai Lama.
Chinese social media users were infuriated by reports of Reeve’s affiliation with the charity, and called for a boycott of the latest franchise installment, “Matrix Resurrection.” The film, which cost $190 million to make, took in a meager $7.5 million on opening weekend in the country.
The Chinese Communist Party has forcibly occupied Tibet since invading in 1951. They accuse the Dalai Lama, who has been exiled to India since 1959, of promoting separatism, as he continues to advocate for Tibet’s independence from China.
Streaming platforms have removed Reeves’ hit global franchises “John Wick” and the “Matrix” from their services. At least 19 of the actor’s blockbusters, including “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” “Speed,” and “The Lake House,” were yanked from dominant streaming service, Tencent Video last week.
The actor’s name is no longer searchable online, with one platform returning the response: “Sorry, no results related to ‘Keanu Reeves’ were found. Due to relevant laws, regulations and policies, some results are not shown.”
Reeves is not the first Hollywood star to be censored by China for supporting Tibet. Buddhist Richard Gere reportedly lost out on movie roles over his close ties to the Dalai Lama, and pop star Selena Gomez became persona non grata for taking a photo with the religious leader.
Brad Pitt was banned from entering China for nearly 20 years, after the release of 1997’s “Seven Years In Tibet,” in which he portrayed an Austrian climber who befriended the Dalai Lama around the time China invaded Tibet.