Employee alleges popular author Guo Jingming sexually harassed him – China’s latest society and culture news

Society & Culture

A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for August 22, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

“I don’t care if Guo is gay or not. It’s a private matter and it doesn’t change the fact that his works are crap.”

“I stay neutral with no evidence provided. But what upsets me the most is that Guo is no longer a writer, he is a pure businessman who only wants money.”

These were two reactions to allegations about one of China’s richest writers, the young-adult fiction author and publisher Guo Jingming 郭敬明. He found himself subjected to a barrage of criticism (in Chinese) online, after Li Feng 李枫, a male author who signed up with Guo’s publishing company, accused Guo of sexual harassment on August 21.

In a Weibo post (in Chinese) published by Li, the writer claims that he was sexually harassed by Guo, and that he is not the only employee at Guo’s company who has experienced unwanted sexual advances from Guo. Titled “To Guo Jingming, to all people,” the post starts with Li’s brief reflection on why he joined Guo’s company even though he acknowledged Guo’s history of plagiarism and held an unfavorable opinion of Guo at that time. “Despite Guo’s scandals, he seemed very active online back then. And many famous Chinese writers signed up with his company,” Li writes. “These two factors influenced my decision.”

Li then says that he shared a hotel room in Chengdu with Guo at Guo’s request during a promotional tour for his first book, The Autumn Boy 燃烧的男孩. “I treated him as a senior. Though there were rumors about his sexuality, he never admitted it. So I wasn’t sure,” Li states.

According to Li, on the first night, Guo groped him. But after he grabbed Guo’s wrist, Guo flashed an awkward smile and turned back to his bed. “I thought my attitude was clear enough,” Li recalls. “But on the second day, he didn’t give up. He even asked to have oral sex with me. This was so disgusting.” By the third day, Li refused to share a room with Guo.

Describing Guo’s private life as “promiscuous,” Li also notes that many male authors and employees were victims of sexual harassment by Guo. To conclude the article, Li writes, “I solicit suggestions from people of all walks of life on how to deal with this issue.”

After Li’s post went viral, Guo quickly rebuked the accusation, claiming that he is innocent of wrongdoing. “First, it’s completely fabricated. Second, I’ve already asked my lawyer to handle the case,” Guo wrote (in Chinese).