The recent explosive accusations of sexual misconduct against superstar actor and rapper Kris Wu were in fact the result of elaborate schemes to malign him and defraud both him and his accuser, an investigation by the Chinese police concluded late Thursday evening local time.
The police in Beijing’s Chaoyang district responsible for handling the case arrived at the results with unusual speed, issuing them just days after the most condemnatory of the allegations against Wu emerged.
The report sparked an outburst of censure as huge swathes of online commenters criticized its language as skewed in Wu’s favor.
Earlier this month, 19-year-old student Du Meizhu launched initial accusations against Wu that he had gotten her drunk at his house during a party and date raped her. In subsequent posts and an interview, she said that he’d behaved similarly with at least seven other very young women, often found via casting calls or selected from his fan groups. China’s age of consent is 14.
However, the police verdict stated that Du hyped up her story in posts written with a friend “in order to enhance their own online popularity.” Du’s subsequent posts with even more damning detail were indeed posted by her but written by a male online writer seeking to “profit from the situation.”
The Wu and Du camps have made conflicting claims about an alleged settlement. Du said she was sent money for a settlement but then decided to pay it back, publicizing what she says are screenshots of those transactions as evidence. Meanwhile, Wu’s mother reported to the Beijing police that Du was trying to blackmail them. She had transferred funds to Du in desperation, she said, but never received Du’s alleged return payment.
The official investigation ruled that neither party was at fault, because the financial transactions and confusion were masterminded by a third-party fraudster: a 23-year-old male with a middle school-level education from Nantong City, Jiangsu Province. He first posed as one of Wu’s alleged female victims, then as Du herself, and then as Wu’s lawyer in an increasingly complex attempt to take advantage of the viral situation and extort money from both sides.
The police said it had come to this conclusion by “interrogating suspects, interviewing the parties [involved], visiting witnesses, obtaining documentary evidence, and securing and extracting electronic evidence.” They said they have arrested the young male suspect, who has already confessed to the crime of fraud.
Buried at the end of the report, the police admitted that they remain in the middle of an investigation into the other sexual assault claims against Wu that have exploded online, and will deal with its results “in accordance with the law.” They told the Beijing News that they have not yet received any official reports filed by Du herself or the other supposed victims she has mentioned.
The police statement did not actually draw any conclusions about the legal culpability of either Wu or Du, leading one top commenter on the Beijing News article to garner nearly 50,000 likes with the post: “First investigate the crime clearly before talking about it.”
Another asked, baffled: “I thought the police would arrest either Wu or Du, but instead they arrested a third person?”
Variety‘s call to their department on Thursday went unanswered.
‘I Didn’t Stay There On Purpose!’
The police account bolsters some of Du’s main claims that Wu has either ignored or denied, including that she was drunk during their encounter, and that the celeb selects young women to bed and lures them in under false pretenses. But Du angrily described the official portrayal of events as misleading.
The report said that Du had attended a casting call for an upcoming music video conducted by Wu’s agent, a woman surnamed Feng. She then attended a party at Wu’s house where a group of 10 people drank and played drinking games together until the next morning. She stayed there that evening after getting drunk, and the two had sexual intercourse. She left the next morning after sharing a meal with Wu, and has kept in touch with him over WeChat since.
Du said Wu’s agent deliberately led her into a bad situation.
“Because she was a woman, I didn’t take precautions and got into the car she’d called for me,” she said. “It was only when I arrived that I realized it was a drinking party at Wu’s house, and wasn’t a meeting for just the two of us to discuss work.
“I said that I had a low alcohol tolerance, but the people there kept giving me alcohol. I even vomited once. I then drank until I lost consciousness, and Feng Meng took me to his bedroom… I didn’t actively go there! I didn’t stay there on purpose!”
When she woke up, she said, Wu told her sincerely that he wanted them to start dating, so she stayed for a meal.
Du’s supporters point out that the police’s findings do not actually prove her story wrong — yet do prove that Wu lied.
Wu, a Canadian citizen, has vehemently refuted all allegations, writing in a statement posted to his official Weibo earlier this week: “If there really had been such behavior, I would certainly willingly go to jail.” He has not been formally charged with any crimes.
In that statement, Wu said he never took her phone away from her that evening, as she alleges. However, the police told the Beijing News that he had in fact done so, as was common practice for attendees of his house parties.
Variety has contacted Wu’s representatives but hasn’t yet received a response.
‘I Support Her Even More’
As one of China’s most popular and recognizable celebrities, Wu has battalions of defenders online. Many of them have been attacking Du along the lines of the police report, stating she made up claims for personal gain.
One typical comment of this type read: “You’re such a poser, sister… How many kind-hearted Internet users have you tricked? You just want everyone to help you earn money through extortion, don’t you?”
But the voices in support for Du and critical of the police report and certain media portrayals appeared even more numerous, with many denouncing perceived biases.
The police emphasized that Du, her friend and the writer involved were motivated by a desire to seek attention, fame or profit. But such intentions are the essentially the norm in the internet era, and certainly not themselves a crime, supporters contested, pointing out that seeking fame is in fact a good thing if it draws attention to an important cause.
Intentions for any action by anyone can be framed negatively to imply unscrupulous conduct, supporters said.
“If Du had sought a lawyer’s council before posting on Weibo, would that have also required the police to add line like, ‘In order to seek profit from the situation, Lawyer X planned [these] Weibo posts after a discussion with Du Meizhu’?” one asked. “Consider: why didn’t the police address the agent’s motivations in the same manner?”
Du posted a Weibo missive late Thursday evening in response to the report describing how exhausted she was with the investigation and attention, stating: “I hope this will end soon. I’m truly so tired.”
“So many women who were deceived have reached out to me; I’ve already done all I can to give them a voice,” she wrote. “You can say I’m sensationalizing to become famous online — whatever you want to say is fine, I don’t care… I’ve tried my best.”
Her supporters, however, are still trying to boost her and each other’s spirits. One popular message posted and reposted has turned her negative portrayals into a rallying cry.
With more than 100,000 likes on Weibo, it reads: “If Du Meizhu wants more money, then I support her getting paid out by the Wu family until they’re reduced to ruin. If Du Meizhu is sensationalizing to get famous, then I support her sensationalizing and getting famous enough to let the whole internet and whole world know [Wu’s alleged crimes].
“If Du Meizhu is a bad person, then I support her even more; I not only hope for her to definitely avoid being kind-hearted, but actually to become even more ruthless in this situation… If Du Meizhu is forced to take no further steps than she already has, then I still commend her courage and will continue to boycott Wu until the end.”