Global brands drop Kris Wu over date-rape allegation

Entertainment

South China Morning Post 20 July, 2021 - 01:54am 5 views

Read full article at South China Morning Post

Chinese Rapper Kris Wu Faces Sexual Assault Allegations, Dropped by Major Brands

Complex 20 July, 2021 - 11:22am

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, the first to come forward was 19-year-old Du Meizhu, who says the 30-year-old rapper and actor coerced her into having sex with him in when she was 17 by promising to help her gain opportunities in the entertainment industry. She says they had sex after he got her drunk and she blacked out. China, which is where the incident is alleged to have taken place, has an age of consent of 14. Meizhu revealed to the Chinese website NetEase that she knows at least eight other victims, two of which are minors.

Wu has since shut down her allegations and has plans to file a defamation suit. But that didn’t stop him from being dropped by nearly all of the Chinese brands that endorse him. He also worked with a number of international brands, like Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Porsche, Lancôme, L’Oréal, and more, many of which have distanced themselves from the rapper, who THR describes as one of China’s biggest stars.

Reports also emerged that in an attempt to silence Meizhu, Wu tried to pay her off with over $77,000. However, she said she wanted to be “the last victim” and has decided to repay the money and take the matter to court.

On Monday, Wu issued his first response to the accusations, writing on Weibo, “I didn’t respond earlier because I didn’t want to interfere with judicial proceedings… but I cannot bear it anymore.” He explained that he and Meizhu met at a friend’s but he denied her allegations. “If I’ve done any of the things [she claims], I will take myself to jail,” he added.

Chinese pop star Kris Wu scrutinized over teen sexual assault allegations, boosting flagging MeToo movement

The Washington Post 20 July, 2021 - 06:41am

Wu, a prominent pop singer and actor, has denied the allegations and his company says it filed a police report against Du. In similar cases in the past, Chinese state media cautioned against prejudgment, or at times even cast doubt on the allegations. This time, however, it reported heavily on the disputed facts of the case and discussed possible punishments.

The change seems to be in part due to the large number of accusers against Wu and their young age. But the state media commentary also suggests a policy shift to provide less political cover to prominent figures in the private sector.

“The Wu Yifan case has escalated into something larger than celebrity gossip, into a legal case and public event with massive social impact, something that demands a comprehensive investigation and clarifications by relevant departments,” China’s state broadcaster CCTV said on Tuesday in a Weibo social media post, using Kris Wu’s Chinese name. “This should be a lesson for us to think more calmly and decide what kind of person deserves the laurel of a ‘star.’ ”

The shift suggests that China’s MeToo movement could be a beneficiary of the growing official scrutiny of wealthy entrepreneurs, especially those with overseas ties. Beijing has flexed its muscles over the past year against some of the nation’s most powerful companies, including torpedoing the IPO plans of Alibaba’s digital payments affiliate.

Compared to its impact in the United States, the MeToo movement had made limited headway in China, partly because of official discouragement, including the arrests of feminist activists — until now.

The companies that have distanced themselves from Wu this week include French luxury brand Louis Vuitton, German automaker Porsche, French cosmetics label Lancôme, Chinese instant noodle brand Master Kong, and Chinese video-streaming giant Tencent Video.

“The truth remains to be investigated by the judiciary,” said a WeChat social media account associated with the state-run flagship newspaper, People’s Daily. “But no matter what, the ‘Kris Wu’s’ should recognize that the aura of being an ‘A-lister’ cannot cover up everything.”

In an interview published Monday by Chinese media outlet NetEase, Du accused Wu, 30, of luring her and other teenage girls for sex. Du said when she was 17, the singer plied her with alcohol until she passed out.

“I hate him. I hate him so much it makes me gnash my teeth,” she said in the interview. “I hate myself more, to the point of wanting to commit suicide.”

The Washington Post was not able to verify Du’s account on Tuesday, and she did not respond to a request for comment.

Wu has denied the allegations. China’s age of consent is 14.

“There were never any ‘minors’!” Wu wrote on the Weibo social media platform on Monday. “If this kind of thing happened, please rest assured that I will go by myself to jail!! I will take legal responsibility for my words above!!”

Wu’s attorney, Zhu Xiaolei, told The Post that a police report had been filed against Du. He called the report a stricter process than a lawsuit and said the police were in the process of investigating.

“We also believe it will not be too long before there will be a result,” he said. “There is a lot of information on the Internet that is untrue.”

A number of companies decided to act first.

“Louis Vuitton attaches great importance to the allegations against Mr. Wu Yifan, and has suspended the cooperative relationship with Mr. Wu Yifan until the results of the judicial investigation are announced,” the company posted on Monday on Weibo.

Wu shot to fame as part of the South Korean Chinese boy band EXO, before leaving the group in 2014 for a solo career in China. He was born in China but holds Canadian citizenship.

“Even though he’s a Canadian, China also has jurisdiction,” ran a headline on Monday in the state-run China News Weekly.

Brands cut ties with Chinese-Canadian star after rape accusation

Reuters 20 July, 2021 - 01:19am

The student, Du Meizhu, told Chinese media on Sunday that the 30-year-old star had raped her when she was 17 after plying her with drinks.

Wu, who made his Hollywood debut in the 2017 sci-fi film "XXX: Return of Xander Cage" and was previously a member of K-pop group EXO, denied the accusations.

"I only met Ms Du once at a friend's gathering on Dec. 5, 2020. I didn't force her to drink alcohol," Wu, whose Chinese name is Wu Yifan, said on his social media account on Monday.

The public airing of allegations has caused a social media storm in China, with the hashtag "Du getting Wu to leave the industry" garnering 850 million views.

Du said in a social media post on Sunday she was demanding that Wu quit the entertainment industry.

Du did not say if she had reported the alleged date rape to police but Wu's studio said in a statement on Monday that it had reported Du's accusation to police and had initiated legal action.

Neither Du nor Wu's studio responded to messages from Reuters seeking comment. Reuters was not able to immediately determine which police station might have received a report about the incident.

German luxury sports car brand Porsche (PSHG_p.DE) said in a post on the Chinese social media platform Weibo on Monday that it had ceased cooperation with Wu, and Bvlgari followed suit on Tuesday.

"Bvlgari attaches great importance to the event related to Mr Kris Wu, and decides to stop cooperative relationships with Mr Kris Wu from now on," the Italian luxury jewellery brand said in a post on its Weibo page.

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More brands dump Chinese popstar accused of sexual assault

Yahoo Singapore News 20 July, 2021 - 12:55am

The scandal has parallels with China's #MeToo movement sparked by Chinese feminists in 2018, where women were empowered to voice their experiences of sexual harassment -- sometimes involving powerful public figures.

Nineteen-year-old student Du Meizhu accused Wu, 30, of date-raping her when she was 17 in a Sunday interview with Chinese news portal NetEase.

Du said the K-pop star had attempted to buy her silence with 500,000 RMB ($77,100) 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 megastar also known as Wu Yifan, wrote on Monday, adding he does not sleep with underage girls.

Wu's studio also published a lengthy response to Du's claims, denying any wrongdoing and alleging that she only met him once at a party, tried to extort his staff for millions of yuan and falsified her accusations.

"The studio has already launched the legal accountability process," they wrote Monday evening.

Du's claims sparked a wave of online condemnation of the megastar, 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 a growing number of brands including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Porsche and Tencent Video have announced on social media that they were dropping or suspending their collaborations with Wu.

"Bulgari attaches great importance to the incident relating to Kris Wu and decided to terminate all related collaborations with Wu from today," the luxury brand wrote on China's Twitter-like Weibo Tuesday.

Louis Vuitton also said it was suspending cooperation with Wu.

Angry online users have been calling for other brands including L'Oreal Men and Lancome to sever ties with Wu.

Lancome said in a Weibo statement Tuesday that its partnership with Wu expired in June.

Since Du's comments, more alleged victims have spoken out online, accusing Wu's staff of predatory behaviour such as inviting them to boozy karaoke parties with the star.

The hashtags "girls help girls", "girls helping girls" and "girls help girls time" -- where women expressed solidarity with Du -- were deactivated by Weibo and removed from the trending list Monday, although they could still be searched online.

The China Association of Performance Arts said Monday that Wu's punishment "must be based on facts instead of relying on online exposes" but called for "severe punishment" if he is found to have broken the law.

State media has weighed in, as the Global Times called for necessary legal intervention in a Monday Weibo post.

The Weibo trending hashtag "the law is the lowest standard of morals" racked up 830 million views, as users complained about the high legal threshold required for victims to prove sexual assault in court.

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Kris Wu Loses Endorsement Deals Amid Allegations of Sexual Misconduct in China

Yahoo Entertainment 19 July, 2021 - 10:27pm

The allegations have created a nationwide scandal and set the Chinese internet on fire. Eight out of the top 10 search items on the Twitter-like Weibo platform Monday were about the issue, while just one of the many related hashtags has garnered hundreds of thousands of comments and nearly 2 billion views.

“I just want to… prevent anyone from being hurt again. I hope I will be the last victim,” said 19-year-old college student Du Meizhu, who has come forward with detailed allegations about the 30-year-old star.

Wu, a Canadian citizen, has strongly denied the allegations. On Monday, Wu issued an official statement via social media. Representatives for Wu could not immediately be reached for comment late Monday.

“I only met this woman once on Dec. 5, 2020 while with a group of friends… I declare I have never done anything like ‘selecting concubines,’ coercing women into sex, drugging people to rape them, or engaging with underage girls!” Wu said. “If there really had been this behavior, I would certainly willingly go to jail.”

But in the past day, global brands including Lancome, Porsche, Bulgari, Vatti, Kiehl’s and Tuborg have hidden posts featuring the entertainer or dropped him. Louis Vuitton temporarily removed their posts, but later reinstated them. Chinese companies have done the same, starting from make-up brand Kans and followed by Tencent, detergent company Libai, music streamer Yunting and video game “King of Glory.”

Wu first made a name for himself as part of the Chinese-language offshoot of SM Entertainment’s boyband EXO. He left the group in 2014 to seek his own opportunities in China. Since then, he has become a fixture on some of the country’s most popular variety shows, including Tencent’s top girl group audition show “Produce Camp 2020” and iQiyi’s taste-making “Rap of China,” which helped bring the genre into the mainstream.

Wu’s film credits include the Western titles “XXX: Return of Xander Cage” and Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” In China, his top film roles include “Mr. Six” and “Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back,” the country’s 33rd highest grossing film of all time, among others.

Earlier this month, Du began posting allegations online that Wu had assaulted her while on a date and ensnared others with promises of career opportunities or by other means.

She elaborated on her story Sunday in an explosive interview with Chinese outlet NetEase Entertainment, which has been read tens of millions of times.

In it, Du alleged that Wu gave her $77,000 (RMB500,000) to cajole her into retracting her accusations. She said, however, that she has since returned it it in order to pursue legal action against him, providing screenshots allegedly depicting the transactions.

Since Du went public, “far more” women have come to her with similar stories, she said. The age of consent in China is 14.

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Rapper Kris Wu, One of China’s Biggest Stars, Accused of Sex Abuse

Hollywood Reporter 19 July, 2021 - 09:33pm

A 19-year-old former fan's allegations have sparked an enormous outcry in China, while major brands, such as Louis Vuitton and Porsche, responded by cutting ties with the actor/model/singer.

By Patrick Brzeski

Chinese-Canadian rapper turned actor Kris Wu, one of China’s biggest stars, has been dropped by a slew of major brands after he was accused of luring young girls, including teenagers, into having sex with him.

The allegations have generated a tsunami of social media outcry in China, with many demanding Wu quit the entertainment industry and leave the country for good.

The controversy began with allegations made by 19-year-old former fan Du Meizhu, who says Wu, 30, lured her to his home when she was just 17 with the promise of an audition, but proceeded to ply her with alcohol and have sex with her after she had blacked out. On Sunday, Du gave an interview with the Chinese internet site NetEase, saying that she knew of at least eight other women — two of whom are minors — who allege similar experiences with Wu. The age of consent in China is 14.

Wu publicly denied the accusations and said he was filing a defamation suit.

Wu came to fame in Asia as a member of the popular K-pop boy band Exo, but he returned to China in 2014 to explore a solo career as a model, singer and actor. He has become one of China’s most bankable stars — a TV variety show staple, the face of dozens of major fashion campaigns in the country, a reasonably popular actor and a successful solo artist. He has appeared in several major Chinese box office hits, such as Mr. Six (2015) and Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017), as well as a few Hollywood films — which were aiming to court the China market — like Vin Diesel’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage and Luc Besson’s mega-budget misfire Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

Chinese tabloid Global Times reported that Wu previously attempted to pay Du about 500,000 yuan ($77,166) in hush money to stay quiet with her story. The 19-year-old has since begun repaying the funds and stated that she wishes to pursue legal proceedings against Wu.

As of Sunday evening, Global Times said, the topic “NetEase interview with Du Meizhu” had been viewed over 1.66 billion times on China’s Twitter-like social media service Weibo. On the service’s entertainment hotlist, eight of the top 10 searches were related to Wu.

As one of China’s most visible celebrities, Wu is the face of scores of brands in the country, including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Porsche, Lancôme, L’Oréal, Kans, Master Kong Iced Tea, Tuborg Brewery, household cleaning products maker Liby, kitchen appliances manufacturer Vatti, streaming platform Tencent Video and Tencent video game King of Glory.

By Sunday, nearly all of the Chinese brands had dropped him and many of the international companies had begun to distance themselves.

Louis Vuitton issued a brief statement Monday evening on Weibo, saying that it “takes the allegations against Kris Wu very seriously and has suspended its relationship with Kris Wu until the outcome of the judicial investigation is known.” Bulgari and Porsche also have since cut ties.

On Monday, Wu made his first statement in response to the allegations, writing on Weibo: “I didn’t respond earlier because I didn’t want to interfere with judicial proceedings… but I cannot bear it anymore.” He said he had met Du once at a friend’s party but denied the other details of her account. “If I’ve done any of the things [she claims], I will take myself to jail,” he added.

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Will Luxury Brands Stand By Idol Kris Wu After Teen Sex Allegations? | Jing Daily

Jing Daily 19 July, 2021 - 10:52am

What Happened: Chinese Canadian pop star Kris Wu has been embroiled in a scandal over the weekend that rocked Chinese social media. His alleged girlfriend Du Meizhu has accused him of infidelity and seducing underage girls. Du claimed several young female victims were sexually exploited by Wu, including herself.

On July 19, Wu and his studio released separate statements refuting the claims, stating that they are taking legal action for defamation. This incident sparked off a cyberwar against one of China’s most valuable faces, but netizen sentiments are polarized. A few fans expressed their alignment with Wu, convinced that the accusation was slander. But the majority of citizens suggested Wu should quit entertainment and face legal sanctions.

So far, Wu’s collaboration with Chinese brands, such as Tencent Video, C-beauty brand KANS, and the mobile game Honor of Kings, have all been terminated. Lancôme disclosed that its contract with the idol had been due in June in response to the backlash. However, this claim caused outrage online, triggering a netizen boycott of the brand for not taking a clear stance via an official announcement that clarified its terminated collaboration with the celebrity.

Kris Wu promotes male beauty products for Lancôme (left) and L’Oréal Men. Photo: Weibo

The Jing Take: While Chinese brands are being proactive, international brands are taking a wait-and-see approach towards this incident. As a notable exception, Louis Vuitton concealed all Wu-related posts on its Weibo page and posted a statement, saying, “Louis Vuitton takes the recent accusations concerning Mr. Kris Wu very seriously and as such suspends its collaboration with the artist until the investigation is concluded.” However, Bvlgari and L’Oréal Men Expert, which also appointed Wu as its brand ambassador, have yet to release any official announcements.

China’s unique idol culture, with its many pitfalls, is nothing new to luxury players. The business value of celebrity endorsements is indisputable, especially when it comes to China’s hardcore fan bases, who are willing to nurture their idols’ careers. But more importantly, fan groups usually see themselves as accountable contributors by pledging loyalty and actively buying or promoting the products and brands endorsed by their idols.

On the flip side, this loyalty and attachment create risks for brands that leverage idol economies. In Kris Wu’s case, netizen sentiment tended to be negative and aggressive, given the multiple allegations from different young women. However, there is no conclusive evidence yet. Although the luxury houses involved with his brand sponsorships seem to be betting on a favorable turn, netizens will not wait long for a clarified statement.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

© 2021 Herlar, LLC. All rights reserved. Jing Daily® is a registered U.S. trademark of Herlar, LLC.

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Kris Wu, one of K-pop’s biggest stars, accused of sexual abuse

New York Post 19 July, 2021 - 10:34am

By Hannah Sparks

July 19, 2021 | 11:34am | Updated July 19, 2021 | 2:54pm

Kris Wu, the Chinese Canadian rapper and former member of K-pop supergroup Exo, has been accused of rape by a fan who claims she’s not the only one.

Now, some of Wu’s biggest sponsors are pulling the plug on partnerships with the embattled star as more women have reportedly come forward against Wu, who has denied all accusations, according to a Vice News report.

Du Meizhu, 19, told Chinese news forum NetEase that Wu, 30, had lured her into his home under the pretense of an audition, as Wu’s managers were present at the time of the alleged incident, which occurred about two years ago when Du was 17.

Du said Wu and his team insisted she stick around for drinks, blocking her from leaving.

“I became unconscious soon,” Du said in the July 18 interview, according to Vice’s translated reporting. “When I woke up again, I was on Wu’s bed.” Wu, she added, did not use a condom during the alleged rape.

In the months that followed, Du said that she came under the impression that she and Wu were in a relationship, encouraged by flirtatious text messages between the two and a promise that she’d soon be meeting his mother. But Wu eventually went silent.

Eventually, Du came to learn of several other women who shared her experience, she told NetEase, including two minors who claim to have evidence against Wu.

As of Monday, Wu has denied the claims on Chinese blogging platform Weibo, according to a translation posted by a Kris Wu fan account on Twitter for their more than 10,500 followers.

“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,’” he wrote, according to the Guardian, adding he does not have sex with underage girls. His studio also announced it had launched legal action against the accuser.

It has also been reported that Du had received some 500,000 yuan as hush money from Wu’s team, but has refused the payoff in favor of taking public legal action, according to a GlobalTimes report on Monday.

Nevertheless, the accusations have prompted brands including Tempo tissues, Chinese streaming site Tencent Video, Kans cosmetics, and laundry detergent maker Liby to drop contracts with Wu. GlobalTimes also reported that Lancome and Kiehl’s have removed social media content including Wu. Meanwhile, internationally recognized brands Bulgari, Porsche, and Louis Vuitton have not formally commented on their existing deals with the pop star.

On Sunday, Du called for Wu to personally apologize to his victims within 24 hours, and retire from the music industry for good, according to a translation by Chinese entertainment fan Dramapotatoe, whose Twitter page boasts nearly 89,000 followers.

Du concluded her demand with a sexually charged jab, referring to the rapper as “Wu Toothpick.”

Kris Wu

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