Louis Vuitton, Porsche, and Bulgari on Tuesday joined a legion of brands in dropping Chinese-Canadian pop idol Kris Wu, as sexual assault allegations swirling around the star drew condemnation across Chinese social media.
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.
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