Anime-themed video streaming website BiliBili received a letter on Friday from Chinese singer Cai Xukun’s lawyer to take down defamatory videos of the Chinese idol, not from the law firm itself, but via netizen reposts on Weibo.
In the Weibo post dated Friday, BiliBili said it “cares about the feelings of Mr. Cai Xukun” and that it trusts legal professionals to reach a fair judgement. The post sparked heated debate on the microblogging site, reaching 510 million reads as of Monday afternoon. The post ended with a link to a commentary piece from state media agency People.cn that calls on public figures to be more tolerant about minor criticism.
BiliBili declined to comment when reached by TechNode.
The incident started with the letter, which was first posted by the official Weibo account of Joint-Win Law, one of the law firms handling the case. The letter accuses BiliBili of allowing videos that include “intentional slander, image misuse, and insulting phrases” targeting the 20-year-old singer. It also demands the website take down all such content and block users from uploading similar videos or face a lawsuit.
A number of influential Weibo users in support of Cai also condemned BiliBili for spreading violent, gory, and sexually explicit videos that were created to make fun of the singer. However, these users refer to the same screenshot and do not provide links to any videos. Repeated searches by a TechNode reporter turned up no such videos on BiliBili. Comments under BiliBili’s Friday Weibo post said violent or sexual content would not get past the website’s existing filters.
“Post the original video number, don’t just use that one picture,” demanded a Weibo user using the handle “Little Broken” in response to a post criticizing BiliBili.
BiliBili users intensified their ridicule of Cai after a video of the singer awkwardly dribbling a basketball recently went viral on the website, creating hundreds of guichu videos—mashups of edited, sped up, and Auto-Tuned clips—to mock the singer. One such video used special effects to add objects such as fans and light sabers into Cai’s hands, and sped up the clips to make the singer’s movement look spasmodic. The guichu videos were in response to Cai’s appearance in a promotional video for the NBA around the Spring Festival holiday in February.
Prior to Cai, BiliBili users have poked fun at other celebrities, including Chinese-Canadian singer Wu Yifan or Kris Wu, actor Zhang Jinlai, most known for his portrayal of the fictional character Monkey King, and rear admiral and military theorist Zhang Zhaozhong.