Several major luxury brands have severed their ties with Kris wu, a highly regarded Chinese-Canadian singer, after an 18-year-old accused her of targeting her and pressuring her and other young women for sexual purposes.
The charges, which Mr. Wu has denied in several statements, sparked widespread public outrage and threw his career into turmoil. At least 11 companies, including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Porsche and L’Oréal, suspended or terminated contracts with Mr Wu this week, after his accuser spoke out in an interview with Chinese online media on Sunday. .
Mr. Wu, 30, rose to fame as a member of K-pop group EXO before embarking on a solo career as a model, actor and singer, attracting over 50 million fans online as well as lucrative sponsorship deals . Known in China as Wu Yifan, he is one of the most popular celebrities in the country to face accusations of #MeToo.
Mr. Wu’s accuser is Du Meizhu, a university student in Beijing who said they first met him when he was 17. She said she was invited to Mr. Wu’s house by her agent with the suggestion that he could help her with her acting career, according to her social media posts and the interview with Netease, an online portal. Once there, she was forced to drink cocktails until she passed out, she said, and then ended up in her bed.
Ms. Du said she believed it was a tactic he was using to attract other young women. She accused Mr. Wu of treating women as if they were all concubines in a harem. “You look at a lot of pictures of girls at drinking and select them as merchandise,” she wrote in a social media post, speaking directly to him.
Mr. Wu has denied the charges, through his attorney, Zhai Jiayu, and public statements. On Monday, Mr. Wu said that he had only met Ms. Du once in December of last year.
“I declare that there has never been a ‘concubine selection’! he wrote on the social media platform Weibo, referencing Ms. Du’s commentary on the harem. He denied ever having seduced, drugged or raped anyone. “If there has been such behavior, don’t worry, I will go to jail on my own!”
Ms. Du and Mr. Wu did not respond to email requests for comment.
Ms. Du’s story met with a surge of support, a sign of the growing strength of the country’s small Me Too movement. One of his posts on Weibo was liked by over 10 million users. Hashtags like #girlshelpgirls and others calling for Mr. Wu to quit show business have been seen by millions of people.
Ms. Du’s supporters flooded the social media pages of several brands with boycott threats if they didn’t end their sponsorship deals with Mr. Wu. One by one, the brands distanced themselves from him.
“This incident shows that nowadays people will no longer swallow insults and humiliation and fear the shame of sluts,” said Feng Yuan, a feminist scholar and activist. “More and more people want to express themselves and be heard.
#MeToo activism can be difficult in China, where the ruling Communist Party places strict constraints on dissent and public debate. Some women who have come forward abuse accounts faced an audience and legal reaction. Authorities often discourage women to report rape and other sexual crimes.
It was not clear how authorities planned to respond to the allegations against Mr. Wu, but at least three government-affiliated groups issued statements calling for an investigation.
“Everyone is equal before the law, and well-followed celebrities are no exception,” China Women’s News, the newspaper of a state-run women’s group, wrote on its social media page. “Believe that the law will not hurt a good person, and that it will not let a bad person go. “
Ms. Du started speaking on July 8, when she released screenshots of conversations between her and Mr. Wu, as well as people she said worked for him. She accused them of attracting young women by giving them opportunities in show business.
In a screenshot, dated July last year, someone contacting Ms. Du on Weibo asked if she would be interested in working in the film industry. The person then added their contact on WeChat, a chat app, and asked if she had just completed her college entrance exam, claiming that he worked for Mr. Wu’s studio and that they were looking for new talent.
Ms. Du said that she felt helpless when she learned that Mr. Wu was specifically targeting young women like her. “Indeed, we are all moved when we see your innocent expression, but that doesn’t mean we want to become toys you can cheat!” ” she wrote in an article on Weibo.
She said shortly after that, another associate of Mr. Wu contacted her on WeChat to offer what she saw as secret money to take down the post. When she demanded a public apology from Mr. Wu, the associate said they were considering legal action against her, according to cat screenshots she posted online. She said that 500,000 yuan, or nearly 80,000 dollars, was later transferred to his bank account, although she did not give her consent.
In the Netease interview on Sunday, Ms Du said she had started releasing the money in batches and was preparing for a legal fight.
In detailing her first meeting with Mr. Wu, Ms. Du said she was told she would discuss potential jobs. She said she tried to leave, but her team confiscated her phone and warned that if Mr. Wu wasn’t having a good time, it could hurt his future as an actor.
Forced to drink heavily, she said, she ended up sleeping with Mr. Wu. They dated until March, according to her account of events, when he stopped responding to her calls and calls. messages.
Since then, she said, she had heard from seven other women who had been treated the same. She said she also wanted to fight for their interests. She did not identify the other people and the accusations could not be immediately corroborated.
Since going public, Ms. Du has said that she has been the target of cyberbullying and death threats, and has been diagnosed with depression. that of Mr. Wu international fan club said in a message on Weibo: “It’s a shame to see a baseless internet drama turn into an evil carnival that violates the truth and the laws.”
But several other people on social media posted messages of support this week, including screenshots of conversations they said indicated Mr. Wu or his team were inappropriately targeting young women.
“Girls, please protect yourself,” wrote Zhang Dansan, a former member of a girl’s group. on Weibo on Mondays, after sharing screenshots of conversations which she said showed how Mr. Wu asked her if she was a virgin. “I want to be loved too, but make no mistake about it.”