Brands abandon Chinese-American singer Wang Leehom after ex-wife accuses him of having affairs
Published: Dec 18, 2021 12:54 PM
Singer Leehom Wang (Front) performs during his tour concert held at Taipei Arena in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan, June 8, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

Singer Leehom Wang (Front) performs during his tour concert held at Taipei Arena in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan, June 8, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

After Chinese-American singer-songwriter Wang Leehom, who had been praised as a "high-quality idol" for years, was exposed by his ex-wife for having extramarital affairs, emotionally abusing her and soliciting prostitutes, among other unethical behavior, overnight, he has been dropped as spokesperson by several brands and is under fierce criticism from netizens. 

Late Friday night, Wang's ex-wife Li Jinglei posted a long article on Sina Weibo, in which she said that Wang was cheating on her, transfered marital property, had affairs with married people and emotionally abused her to force her to divorce.

Li's article made a big splash the minute it was posted on social media. As of press time, the article has received 6.61 million likes on Weibo. Thousands of netizens joined the discussion over the topic with many joking that the Oscar owes Wang a statuette for he had played as "high-quality idol" for so many years. 

After the debut in 1995, Wang has won numerous fans for his charming face, innovative music and the image he and his company have built as an "idol of high quality" - with few scandals. 

Wang is currently based in Taiwan. He was formally trained at the Eastman School of Music, Williams College and the Berklee College of Music, his musical style is known for fusing Chinese elements, such as Beijing opera, with hip-hop and R&B. He has also acted in several popular films, including Ang Lee's Lust, Caution and Jackie Chan's Little Big Soldier.

In 2013, Wang posted a photo of him and Li, then a doctoral student, and disclosed Li as his girlfriend to the public for the first time. The two got married in 2013 and later had two daughters, aged 7 and 5, and a 3-year-old son. 

Wang confirmed in a Facebook post on Wednesday that he and his wife of eight years have filed for divorce. 

In her article posted on Friday, Li recalled many details of their marital life, which not only poked Wang's image as a good man but also showed that he had shown no respect to the sacrifice of his wife. Li also noted that Wang and his team also manipulated opinions to cut negative news and scandals to help him keep a good image.

Li reminded women to prevent any risks in case they fall into the role of a housewife who lacks an independent source of income and could face enforced divorce, which has aroused resonation among netizens.

Apart from the heat on Chinese mainland's social media platforms, Wang's scandal has also sparked heated discussion in Hong Kong and the island of Taiwan where netizens have reacted with disappointment too. 

Two hours after Li posted the article, Japanese auto brand Infiniti announced early Saturday that it will terminate the cooperative relationship with Wang, ending the business agreement that had only lasted for two days. Infiniti was the first brand to make such move.

Wang was officially announced as the brand's spokesperson on December 16, according to a screenshot of the official Weibo account of Infiniti China. 

Later, Readboy, one of the largest manufacturers specializing in the electronic learning products in China, announced Saturday that it has decided to terminate the cooperative relationship with Wang.

Chow Tai Seng Jewellery Co said Saturday that the advertising cooperation agreement with Wang had expired on November 30, 2021, and there will be no further cooperation.

Hong Kong-based Green Monday, which supplies products from plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat across Asia, also announced that the firm and two brands under it - Green Common and OMNI - will terminate business cooperation with Wang starting from Saturday.

Many Chinese netizens encouraged brands to terminate cooperation with Wang, since celebrities that "lack ethics" or violate laws shouldn't be spokespersons. 

In November, China's top internet regulator said that it will establish a negative list to prevent celebrity-related content from promoting distorted values, including abnormal aesthetics, vulgar scandals, and content that induces fans to blindly idolize celebrities or that hypes the comeback of entertainers who have illegal and unethical records.

Meanwhile, the China Association of Performing Arts also published the ninth warning list in November for livestreaming performances covering 88 celebrities, including former Chinese-Canadian pop idol Kris Wu Yifan who was arrested on rape charges, actress Zheng Shuang who was fined for tax fraud, and actor Zhang Zhehan who visited Japan's Yasukuni Shrine which enshrines World War II war criminals.

Global Times