Reeves, who is renowned for appearing in The Matrix franchise, performed at the 35th Annual Tibet House Benefit Concert, alongside Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith, Cyndi Lauper and Iggy Pop, on March 3. The event was organised by Tibet House, a New York-based non-profit affiliated to the Dalai Lama.
Shortly after his association was announced in January, Chinese nationalists stormed social media with threats of boycotting Reeves’ last release, The Matrix Resurrections. The film had cleared the Chinese censor board in November 2021 and dropped in China on January 14, becoming the first Hollywood film to release in the country after a prolonged period, owing to geopolitical tensions between US and China.
While there was no outright boycott, the fourth instalment in the Matrix franchise underperformed at the Chinese box-office, collecting only $12.3 million after a two-week theatrical run.
However, after Reeves’ participation at the Tibet benefit concert on March 3, Chinese video platforms have removed the majority of his films, including The Matrix trilogy, Speed, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Something’s Gotta Give and The Lake House.
At least 19 films that feature Reeves were pulled from Tencent Video, while all of the actor’s films were removed from platforms like Youku and Migu Video, except Toy Story 4. The animation film, where Reeves voiced the character Duke Caboom, still appears on some platforms, but without the actor’s name appearing in the credits.
Reeves has also been deleted from the country’s search results. “Sorry, no results related to ‘Keanu Reeves’ were found. Due to relevant laws, regulations and policies, some results are not shown,” stated the platform iQiyi.
This is not the first time that an American celebrity has been removed from Chinese media for showing support or affiliation with Tibet. The two countries have long been locked in conflict over China’s territorial claims over Tibet. The issue also reached India, after the Dalai Lama sought refuge in India and set up the exiled Tibetan government.