Louis Vuitton, Porsche and Bulgari yesterday joined a legion of brands in dropping Chinese-Canadian pop idol Kris Wu (吳亦凡), as sexual assault allegations swirling around the star drew condemnation across Chinese social media.
The scandal has parallels with the #MeToo movement sparked by Chinese feminists in 2018, when women were empowered to voice their experiences of sexual harassment — sometimes involving powerful public figures.
Nineteen-year-old student Du Meizhu (都美竹) accused Wu, 30, of date-raping her when she was 17 in a Sunday interview with Chinese news portal NetEase.
Du said the pop star had attempted to buy her silence with 500,000 yuan (US$77,133) and told the outlet she planned to go ahead “with legal proceedings.”
Wu, who also holds Canadian citizenship and grew up between Vancouver and Guangzhou, has denied the allegations on social media.
“I only met Miss Du once at a friend’s gathering, I didn’t ply her with alcohol... I have never ‘coerced women into sex’ or engaged in ‘date rape,’” the pop star wrote on Monday, adding he does not sleep with underage girls.
Du’s claims sparked a wave of online condemnation of the pop star, as well as an outpouring of support for Du and female victims of sexual assault more generally.
The fallout has been significant, given its links with one of China’s most bankable stars.
Since Monday, an increasing number of brands, including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Porsche and Tencent Video, announced on social media that they were dropping or suspending their collaborations with Wu.
Since Du’s comments, more alleged victims have spoken out online, accusing Wu’s staff of predatory behavior, such as inviting them to boozy karaoke parties with the star.
State media also weighed in, with the Global Times calling for necessary legal intervention.
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