Taiwanese-American pop star and actor Wang Lihum has apologized to his family and fans and said he is taking a break from his career after a major social media feud with his ex-wife who accused him of infidelity and hiring prostitutes.
But the break may not be enough to satisfy mainland China authorities, which recently advocated the need for celebrities to be appropriate role models in society.
US-born Wang is one of the top pop stars in the Chinese-speaking world, and has starring roles in several films as well, including Ang Li’s “Lust, Caution” and 2009’s “Little Big Soldier” opposite Jackie Chan, and Blackhat of the year 2015. “Together with Chris Hemsworth. In 2019, he received the Game Changer Award from the Asia Society.
“I didn’t properly manage my marriage, it caused problems for my family, and I didn’t give the public the image an idol should have – it’s all my fault,” he wrote in a statement posted on his official Weibo account. His official apologies.
“The more I think about it, the men still have to take all the responsibility – I won’t give any explanations or defenses anymore,” he added. “Since we are already divorced, arguing about the past is meaningless. From today onward, I will pay heed to my words and actions, and take on the responsibilities of father, son, and public figure.
“I am willing to leave work temporarily to allow time to spend with my parents and children and to compensate for the damage caused by this storm.”
Last week, Wang confirmed on social media that he has officially separated from his ex-wife Li Jingli. The Taiwan News estimated the value of the assets and alimony she would receive in the event of a divorce at about 40 million dollars, which is about a third of the singer’s fortune.
The case has drawn particular attention due to Wang’s previously clean photo, which contradicts accusations against him Friday in a lengthy sermon on social media by his ex-wife of eight years.
In the aftermath, brands including Japan’s automaker Infiniti, Chinese e-learning product maker Redboy, and Hong Kong’s Chow Tai Seng Jewelry have ended partnerships with Wang.
While Chinese officials tout the need for celebrities to act as powerful societal models, Chinese authorities and local media such as the state-backed national tabloid Global Times have suggested that Wang’s temporary hiatus “may not be enough.”
In an editorial on Monday, the newspaper condemned superstars who used their status to cross “legal and ethical boundaries”, making the entertainment sector look like a “black hole in social morality”. He also criticized fanatical fans for defending Wang in light of his alleged behaviour, fearing that his example would lead to a “bright and healthy life for young people”.
Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Shijin said on his personal website Weibo: “Currently, the wife’s accusations have proven to be a fatal blow to Wang Liehum’s personality. Unless he can provide evidence to the contrary and reverse things, his comfortable presence in the mainland performing arts market is It’s basically over.”
Most important was the warning issued by the CPC’s highest disciplinary body, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), which appeared to be directed at Wang. “The recent case of a celebrity’s image collapse proves once again that the words and actions of public figures receive great attention and that their actions affect society,” she said in a statement.
Last month, the China Association of Performing Arts blacklisted dozens of online influencers and three celebrities for “making a negative social impact.”