Major brands are dumping their partnerships with Kris Wu, a former member of the K-pop group EXO and one of China’s most influential celebrities, after he was accused of predatory behavior toward women.
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.