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2020-10-14 11:30:24

A popular Chinese actor is considering legal action against users on short-video platforms who created fake accounts under his name for personal gain.

The actor, Jin Dong, said Tuesday through his agency that he doesn’t have a personal account on any Chinese short-video platform and urged users to delete all content that violates his “portrait rights and brand name.” The 43-year-old actor’s statement came after a woman in the eastern Jiangxi province went viral this week for getting duped by a Jin imposter.

The 61-year-old woman, surnamed Huang, was smitten with the actor, whom she thought had approached her on short-video platform Douyin, according to local media. Huang was so convinced that she was interacting with — and also developing romantic feelings for — her beloved idol that she traveled to Changchun in the northeastern Jilin province with her son to meet him, though he never showed up.

Jin is mostly known for his television roles on shows like “The Disguiser” and “The First Half of My Life.” He has attracted a large female fan base with his sophisticated and dreamy on-screen appearances.

A screenshot from the TV drama “The First Half of My Life” (left) and a fake social media account claiming to be the actor Jin Dong. From Weibo

A screenshot from the TV drama “The First Half of My Life” (left) and a fake social media account claiming to be the actor Jin Dong. From Weibo

Now, scammers are targeting fans — especially those they call “elder sisters” — on short-video platforms with poorly edited video clips. The fans are asked to like the videos to increase the impostor’s followers, seen as potential buyers, during livestreamed sales events.

Huang had spent money during the livestream sale hosted by “Brother Dong,” the person she believed to be Jin, according to the media report.

“Why would he lie to me? It’s impossible,” Huang said. “He announced to the whole country (that he loved me).”

Huang’s experience has sparked heated discussion online, with a related hashtag on microblogging platform Weibo viewed over 560 million times by Wednesday evening. While some users have slammed Huang for being gullible, others have sympathized with her.

“It’s a story of a frustrated woman fighting back against life by holding on to the least bit of romance she can grasp,” wrote one Weibo user. “Instead of making fun of Huang, we ought to start looking into problems like elderly women’s mental health.”

Shanghai-based lawyer Ding Jinkun told Sixth Tone that Jin and Huang can both take legal action against the fake online accounts. While the actor can file a lawsuit for infringing his privacy and intellectual rights, Huang can seek compensation for financial damages.

“The first part of her compensation comes from emotional damage’ worth up to 50,000 yuan ($7,400),” Ding said. “The second part of her compensation depends on how much Huang spent on products sold by the account.”

Whether Huang will take the legal route is unclear. For now, she’s just heartbroken.

“I’ve never before (experienced love),” said Huang, referring to the person she thought was Jin. “I don’t want to give up on this.”

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: Sixth Tone)