Alibaba employee who claimed to be sexually assaulted is sued for reputation infringement
Published: Dec 02, 2021 12:54 AM
Alibaba Photo:VCG

Alibaba Photo:VCG

The female employee of Alibaba surnamed Zhou, who claimed to have been sexually assaulted while on a business trip, became the defendant in a case for reputation infringement. She was sued by Li Yonghe, former president of Alibaba intra city retail, media reports said.

The Yuhang District People's Court in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, accepted and filed a lawsuit for a reputation dispute in which the defendant is Zhou and the plaintiff is Li, media outlet The Paper reported on Wednesday. 

In the sexual assault case in August, Zhou openly claimed that Li, part of the management staff of Alibaba, knew about the incident but did not address the sexual assault. Later, according to a statement released by Alibaba, Li took the blame and resigned from his post. 

In the suit, Li claims that Zhou published false information about the sexual assault case in public venues in Alibaba and on websites, and that during investigation by Alibaba and public security authorities, Zhou disregarded the fact that the plaintiff and his team were actively dealing with the incident, but instead blackmailed public opinion and fabricated that the plaintiff "knew about the incident but did not deal with it." The plaintiff's reputation and financial situation have been seriously damaged.

Li alleges that because of Zhou's infringement, Alibaba was led into a misunderstanding and eventually made the wrong decision of asking him to take the blame and resign.

Li asked the court to order the defendant to make a written apology to the plaintiff for 15 consecutive days on the front page of the company's national website to eliminate the negative impact and restore the reputation of the plaintiff, in addition to a claim of 1 yuan ($0.16).

Zhou told The Paper that she did not damage Li's reputation and her attorney has submitted a reply to the court and an application for a suspension of trial.

"I filed a report to the company because of my personal rights were violated. It does not constitute the so-called infringement of the right to reputation," Zhou said.

Li was asked to resign by the company because of his fault at work, which was the company's decision, and he did not object to it, Zhou noted. 

"Whoever reports a problem should not be blamed just because the problem leads to someone's being dealt with. This is the basic logic," Zhou said.

In August, the Alibaba sexual scandal topped search trends on China's social media platforms. In the incident, Zhou claims that she was forced to drink excessively and raped while she was drunk by senior employee Wang Chengwen. 

Police investigation found no evidence that Zhou was raped but two suspects, including Wang, were put under criminal compulsory measures on suspicion of sexual molestation against Zhou. 

In September, Wang's wife had also said that she would launch a lawsuit against Zhou for reputation infringement and had appointed a lawyer.