Who is Li Yifeng? Popular Chinese actor arrested for illegal solicitation of sex services
As soon as it was reported that the popular Chinese actor, Li Yifeng was arrested, famous firms and brands, including Prada, dropped him as their ambassador
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: As the resolution of the chaotic scandal in the Chinese Entertainment industry involving ex-EXO member Kris Wu (Wu Yifan) that took over the year 2021 still hangs in balance, a new controversy has presented itself. On September 11, reports about China's biggest celebrity Evan Li (Li Yifeng) being involved in the illegal solicitation of prostitutes caused chaos in Chinese media. It was reported that actor Li Yifeng (35), has been arrested on suspicion of repeatedly soliciting illegal sex services.
Media reports also alleged that Li Yifeng has recently been detained by Beijing police where he had confessed to the crimes. Now as the scandal brews and the public sentiment against him starts growing sour by the day, many international brands that Li Yifeng endorsed over the last few years have started cutting ties with him and have started dropping the celebrity from advertisements. Reports from Chinese media also claimed that the popular actor was canceled by locals after he was detained by the police and his association with many brands and reputable institutes is being erased from the internet.
Who is Li Yifeng?
Making his debut in 1997, Li Yifeng appeared in a guest role on the Chinese Variety show 'Happy Camp'. Li's official acting debut was in 2008 when he appeared in the C-drama 'The Prince of Tennis' after his infamous stint in the 2007 variety show 'My Hero Contest'. The year 2007 also marked Li's singing debut when he released his album, 'Four Leaf Clover' under the stage name Evan Li. Over the years, Li was known for his reputable work as an actor in famous C-dramas and Chinese films.
Throughout his career, Li has starred in 22 Chinese television shows and 14 movies aside from variety shows and special broadcasts. Li Yifeng is best known for his projects like 'Swords of Legends', 'The Lost Tomb', 'Noble Aspirations', 'Sparrow', 'Mr. Six', 'Time Pass by Suddenly', 'Fearless Whispers', 'Wait in Beijing', and more.
Li's most recent acting appearance was in the 2022 C-dramas 'Mirror: A Tale of Twin Cities' with 43 episodes and 'Day Breaker' with 24 episodes where Li assumed the role of the main lead. Aside from his long filmography, he was ranked Number 9 on the Forbes China Celebrity list in 2015 and Number 11 in 2017 due to his booming popularity.
Li Yifeng was arrested for soliciting prostitutes
Before the scandal was made public, Li Yifeng starred in the 2021 biographical historical blockbuster 'The Pioneer' which was based on China's Communist Party. As soon as reports about the controversy started becoming public, Li was dropped from multiple acting projects as well as celebrity appearances. The statement from Chinese media stated, “Li Yifeng confessed to visiting prostitutes multiple times and has been placed under administrative detention." The issue around Li is not as controversial to international fans of the actor but the local sentiment about the actor has been tainted.
Before the scandal blew up, Li Yifeng made a (now-deleted) post on Weibo where he issued a public statement where he stated that he "always abided by professional ethics, adhered to the moral bottom line and actively shown social responsibility". The statement also claimed, "The remarks about Li Yifeng on the internet are untrue and have been fabricated and spread maliciously by people with ulterior motives." Fans have lost sympathy for the actor and have started drawing comparisons between his controversy with Kris Wu's 2021 rape and sex trafficking scandal.