A Chinese influencer's TikTok-like Douyin account, which has more than 13 million followers, has been frozen by a court order after she was found to have fabricated a sexual harassment complaint against her manager.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, the 25-year-old influencer, surnamed Liu, is known online for her cosplay as animation and TV characters under the handle @SienXiaohuijun.
Liu Claimed Her Manager Made Sexual Advances, Forced Her to Sign New Contract and Led Her to Depression
In December last year, a court in China's northern Hebei province found that she had invented a story about her manager making sexual advances and told her colleagues so she could terminate her contract without paying a large penalty and join a competitor.
Liu and another employee involved, surnamed Yao, successfully terminated their contracts with the company after their false claims went viral. But after the boss Sun Haoyu learned the truth and sued them, the court reportedly ordered Liu to pay Sun 500,000 yuan (US$70,000) for violation of contract.
In a series of videos posted on her Douyin account since November 2020, Liu, a cosplayer with more than 13 million followers, accused her manager Sun of sexually harassing her and forcing her to sign an unfair contract, leaving her with depression.
Liu Forged Screenshots, Made a Fake Medical Certificate to Support Depression Claim
Sun runs the Chidu Multi-Channel Network (MCN) company which provides a range of business support services to online video platforms, accused Liu of ruining his personal life and career with the rumour via a post on Weibo – China's Twitter counterpart.
As evidence, Liu posted forged WeChat screenshots of supposed conversations between her and Sun and a fake medical certificate to support her depression claim. Three other influencers employed by Sun's company, the previously mentioned Yao and his wife, surnamed Chen, and a third woman known on Douyin as @Yuanqiluoluo, all backed Liu.
Yuanqiluoluo initially claimed she had also been sexually harassed by Sun but later said she had "succumbed to her conscience" and confessed to Sun her role in creating the false allegations.
She told Sun that Liu and the other influencer couple and the boss of a rival company trying to headhunt them plotted the fabricated accusation in a WeChat group.
Chat records from the group she gave to Sun, and later used as court evidence, showed Yao told Liu to claim Sun had "touched and kissed her against her will", adding that "he has no evidence to prove you were not touched".
Sun Faced Harassment, Employee Resignations Over the False Claims
Liu made many online statements to bolster her story and make herself appear beyond reproach, including this during a live-stream: "As a 22-year-old virgin, I won't tell lies to stigmatise my good name."
Sun told local media outlet Hongxing News that 80 per cent of his employees resigned following Liu's accusations, and the company could not hire new staff as no one wanted to work for a supposed sex offender.
Sun also noted that he suffered from doxxing, which resulted in his home address being published online and his parents being harassed.