Chinese-Canadian former-pop star Kris Wu has been sentenced to imprisonment for 13 years as he was found guilty of rape, a Chinese court said on Friday.
Wu rose to fame as a member of the K-pop boyband EXO and later quit the band in 2014 to launch a successful solo career as a singer, actor, model and variety show judge.
In 2021, the 19-year-old student Du Meizhu alleged Wu of date-raping her, at the time she was 17. This led to immense public condemnation while luxury brands dropped him from their deals.
The court in Beijing’s Chaoyang district on Friday announced, “11 years and six months of imprisonment for rape” to Wu. It also said, “Wu was also sentenced to imprisonment of one year and ten months for the crime of gathering people to commit adultery”.
The court added, “It was found that the defendant Wu Yifan (Kris Wu) had forced sexual relations with three women at his residence from November to December 2020 when they were drunk and did not know or not able to resist. He will serve a 13-year term before being deported.”
The episode has been compared to the #MeToo movement in China, which saw a wave of women come forward in 2018 to share their stories of being sexually harassed, sometimes by prominent public figures.
Wu was among China’s most profitable stars.
Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, L’Oreal Men and Porsche cut their association with Wu over the case.
After this episode, huge number of victims opened up online in the backdrop of the initial claims. They alleged that Wu’s staff had exploiting behavior as they used to invite them to boozy karaoke parties.
Social media hashtags against Wu
The hashtags “girls help girls”, “girls helping girls” and “girls help girls time”, through which women expressed solidarity with Du, became popular on social media but were also censored because of the scandal.
The hashtag “the law is the lowest standard of morals” trended on the English-friendly Chinese social network site Weibo and got 830 million views,
The Weibo trending hashtag “the law is the lowest standard of morals” also racked up 830 million views, as many users bemoaned the high legal bar victims must pass in order to successfully prove sexual assault in court.