Jackie Chan has hit back at what he described as “sensationalist reporting” over his recent comments that he wished countries should experience natural disasters more often, while social media reacted with great disdain but little surprise over his gaffe.
“How could anyone like to see natural disasters?” Chan told Tencent Entertainment over the phone. “What I meant was I want everyone to rally together, to protect and defend each other.
“I don’t know why my meaning was distorted in this way, but I don’t care, [because] people who know and understand me will realise this. For those who like sensationalist reporting, nothing I say will make a difference.”
Hong Kong celebrities also voiced their support. “I believe the comment was not from his heart. It is not rational, right?” actress Carina Lau told The Apple Daily, adding that sometimes “we all misunderstand Jackie Chan”.
Chan has earned a reputation for verbal blunders in the past. Most famously, he once said that Chinese people “need to be controlled”.
Film star Eric Tang gave a more measured response to Chan’s remarks, saying Chan “has problems expressing himself and doesn’t realise when there’s problems. He’d be better off communicating by kung fu”.
There was no official response by Chan on social media. His Twitter, weibo, Facebook and personal website made no mention of the interview in California, where he was promoting his upcoming film Chinese Zodiac, also known as CZ12.
But the internet was nevertheless abuzz with reactions. Many were unsurprised, referring back to Chan’s previous indiscretions. “Just gag this idiot,” wrote Twitter user “Ning”.
“We should shun Jackie Chan and his movies once and for all…why should this man be raking in big bucks from American fans while trashing the very freedoms and cultures that made him a superstar?” read one comment on a Business Insider report of the incident.
Others were more forgiving. “It doesn’t need any explanation, we all know it was rogue reporting taking meaning out of context,” wrote user “Mr Yang” on weibo.
The Tencent reporter asked Chan if he was angry. “After so many years I’ve grown a thick skin,” Chan replied.