Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu has been formally arrested on suspicion of rape, prosecutors in Beijing said in a statement Monday. The move comes after 30-year-old Wu was first detained on July 31 by police in the Chinese capital, following an online outcry over sexual assault allegation against him in what has become the most high-profile #Metoo case in China.
The allegations first emerged last month on Chinese social media platform Weibo, when a woman posting under the verified handle “Du Meizhu” alleged Wu, whose Chinese name is Wu Yifan, had sexually assaulted her while she was drunk at the pop star’s home, where she said she had gone for a casting interview.
The woman, a student at the Communication University of China in Beijing, said she was 17 at the time of the alleged assault.
Du later alleged that several other women, including two minors, had reached out to her to share similar experiences of being lured into having sex by Wu, who is one of China’s biggest stars. Wu’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
The terse statement from the prosecutor’s office in Beijing’s Chaoyang said Wu’s arrest for suspected rape was formally approved Monday, but it did not offer any details on the charges.
Before he was detained, Wu had denied the allegations on his personal Weibo account. His company said it was pursuing legal action against his accuser, calling the accusations “malicious rumors.”
Wu, who was born in southern China but is a Canadian citizen, rose to fame as a member of popular Korean-Chinese pop group EXO, then as a solo act after he left the band in 2014. He starred in multiple movies and modeled for brands like Burberry, soon becoming one of the country’s top brand ambassadors. But many of his biggest brand partners were quick to distance themselves as the rape allegations spread in July.
French fashion house Louis Vuitton, Italian luxury brand Bulgari and Chinese cosmetics brand Kans were among those that suspended or severed ties completely with the star. Wu’s dramatic downfall only accelerated after his detention.
His once wildly popular social media accounts, including his Weibo page with more than 51 million followers, were taken down overnight.
His songs were also removed from music streaming sites. On Monday evening, Wu’s arrest became the top trending topic on Weibo, with most comments supporting the police action. A related Weibo hashtag has been viewed 1.6 billion times as of Tuesday morning.