A popular Chinese-Canadian singer, Kris Wu, has lost endorsement and other deals with at least 10 brands including Porsche and Bulgari after a teen-ager accused him of having sex with her while she was drunk. The former member of Korean boy band EXO denied the accusation, which prompted an outpouring of supportive comments for the woman online and criticism of Wu.
“There was no ‘groupie sex’! There was no ‘underage’!” Wu said on his social media account, which has 52 million followers. “If there were this kind of thing, please everyone relax, I would put myself in jail!” The backlash after the accusation appeared on the internet portal NetEase reflects the growing willingness of Chinese women to speak up about abuses in a male-dominated society. Brands cut ties with Wu the next day.
They are acutely sensitive to public opinion after the ruling Communist Party stirred up anger at shoe and clothing brands in retaliation for Western reports of human rights abuses in the mostly Muslim region of Xinjiang in the northwest. In addition to Porsche and Bulgari, brands including Tuborg Beer and China’s Tencent Video and Master Kong Ice Tea scrapped endorsement, appearance and other deals with Wu. Lancome said its contract with Wu ended last month. Louis Vuitton said it suspended a contract with Wu. Some comments left on websites criticized the company for not dropping him outright.