One of China’s biggest stars faces a #MeToo storm

Several major luxury brands have broken up with Chinese-Canadian singer Chris Wu, after an 18-year-old accused him of targeting and coercing her and other young women for sex.

The allegations, which Mr. Wu denied in several statements, caused widespread public outcry and put his career in turmoil. At least 11 companies, including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Porsche and L’Oreal, suspended or terminated contracts with Mr Wu this week after his accuser spoke out during an interview with an online Chinese news outlet on Sunday.

Mr. WooThe 30-year-old rose to fame as a member of the K-pop band EXO, before starting a solo career as a model, actor, and singer, attracting over 50 million fans online as well as lucrative endorsement deals. . Known as Wu Yifan in China, he is one of the most popular figures in the country to face #MeToo allegations.

Mr. Wu is accused of Du Meizu, a university student in Beijing. She said that she first met him at the age of 17. She said she was invited to Mr. Wu’s house by her agent with a suggestion that he could help her with her acting career, according to her social media posts and Interview with Netease, an online portal. Once there, she was pressured to drink a cocktail until she lost consciousness, she said, and later found herself in her bed.

Ms Du said she believed it was a tactic he used to attract other young women. She accused Mr. Wu of treating the women as if they were all concubines in a harem. “You see a lot of pictures of girls at drinking parties and pick them up like merchandise,” he wrote in a social media post directly addressing them.

Mr. Wu has denied the allegations through his lawyer Zhai Jiayu and public statements. On Monday, Mr. Wu said he had only met Ms. Du once in December last year.

“I declare that never ‘a concubine has been chosen’!” He wrote Referring to Ms Do’s harem remarks on social media platform Weibo. He denied ever seducing, drugging, or raping anyone. “If that was the behavior, please don’t worry, I’ll go to jail myself!”

his lawyer vowed to sue against Ms. Do and report to the police for defamation. Ms Du has also said that she reported her allegations to the police.

Ms Do and Mr Wu did not respond to emailed requests for comment.

Ms. Do’s account has received overwhelming support, indicating the growing strength of the country’s smaller MeToo movement. One of his posts on Weibo has been liked by more than 10 million users. Hashtags like #girlshelpgirls and others calling for Mr. Wu to quit show business have been viewed by millions.

Ms. Do’s supporters threatened boycotts on several brands’ social media pages if they did not end their endorsement deals with Mr. Wu. One brand after another moved away from them.

Fang Yuan, a feminist scholar and activist, said, “This incident shows that nowadays people will not tolerate humiliation and humiliation and will be afraid of blatant embarrassment.” “People want to speak fast and make themselves heard.”

#MeToo activism can be challenging in China, where the ruling Communist Party imposes strict restrictions on dissent and public debate. some women who have come forward accounts of abuse faced the public and legal response. officers often discourage women From reporting rape and other sexual offences.

It was not clear how officials were planning to respond to the allegations against Mr. Wu, but at least three groups linked to the government gave statements to investigate.

China Women’s News, a state-run women’s group newspaper, wrote on its social media page: “Everyone is equal before the law, and celebrities with large followings are no exception.” “Believe, that the law does not do injustice to a good man, and does not let go of the wicked.”

Ms Du first began speaking on 8 July, when she released screenshot of conversation Between him and Mr. Wu, as well as he said that people work for him. He accused them of taking advantage of opportunities in show business to woo young women.

In a screenshot from July last year, a person reaching out to Ms. Du on Weibo asked her if she would be interested in working in the film industry. The man then added his contact on the chat app WeChat, and asked if he had just completed his college entrance exam, saying he worked for Mr. Wu’s studio and that they were looking for new talent. Huh.

Ms Du said she felt helpless when she learned that Mr Wu had specifically targeted young women like her. “Indeed, we’re all soft hearted when we see your flawless expression, but that doesn’t mean we want to be the kind of game you can cheat!” She Weibo. wrote in a post on.

She said that soon after, another associate of Mr. Wu contacted her on WeChat to offer money to remove the post. When she demanded a public apology from Mr. Wu, the aide said they were considering legal action against him, according to screenshot of chat He posted online. He said 500,000 yuan, or about $80,000, was later transferred to his bank account, although he had not given his consent.

In an interview with Netizens on Sunday, Ms Du said she has started refunding the money in batches and is ready for a legal battle.

Elaborating on her first meeting with Mr Wu, Ms Du said she was told she was going to discuss potential jobs. He said he tried to leave, but his staff took away his phone and warned that if Mr. Wu doesn’t have a good time, it could be detrimental to his future as an actor.

Under pressure to drink heavily, she said, she slept with Mr. Wu. According to her account of events, they dated until March, when she stopped answering his calls and messages.

Since then, she said, she had heard from seven other women who were treated similarly. She said that she also wants to fight for their interests. He did not identify the others, and the allegations could not be immediately confirmed.

Since going public, Ms Du said she has been the target of cyberbullying and death threats, and was diagnosed with depression. Mr. Woo’so The International Fan Club said in a post On Weibo: “Sad to see a baseless internet drama turn into a wicked carnival that defies truth and laws.”

But several others on social media this week posted messages of support, including screenshots of chats they said were inappropriately targeted by Mr. Wu or his staff.

“Girls, please protect yourself,” wrote former girl band member Zhang Danson. on weibo on monday, after sharing screenshots of the conversation, in which she said how Mr. Wu asked her if she was a virgin. “I want to be loved too, but don’t be fooled.”

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