BEIJING: Chinese-Canadian ex-pop star Kris Wu has been jailed for 13 years after being found guilty of rape, a Chinese court said Friday.
Wu originally shot to fame as a member of the K-pop boyband EXO, before leaving in 2014 to launch a successful solo career as a singer, actor, model and variety show judge.
Nineteen-year-old student Du Meizhu last year accused Wu of date-raping her when she was 17, resulting in a barrage of public criticism and luxury brands dropping deals with him.
Wu was sentenced to “11 years and six months of imprisonment for rape”, the court in Beijing’s Chaoyang district said Friday, adding he “was also sentenced to imprisonment of one year and ten months for the crime of gathering people to commit adultery”.
“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,“ the court said.
He will serve a 13-year term before being deported, it added.
The saga has evoked China's #MeToo movement, which saw a wave of women come forward in 2018 voicing experiences of sexual harassment -- sometimes involving powerful public figures.
Wu was one of China's most bankable stars.
Brands including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, L'Oreal Men and Porsche suspended their partnerships with Wu over the case.
And more victims spoke out online in the wake of the initial claims, accusing Wu's staff of predatory behaviour including inviting them to boozy karaoke parties.
The hashtags “girls help girls”, “girls helping girls” and “girls help girls time” -- where women expressed solidarity with Du -- were censored from Chinese social media in the wake of the scandal.
The Weibo trending hashtag “the law is the lowest standard of morals” also racked up 830 million views, as users complained about the high legal threshold required for victims to prove sexual assault in court. - AFP