In the past few weeks, there were rumors circulating Zanilia Zhao Liying (赵丽颖) and Wang Yibo (王一博) would be collaborating for a second time in a series called, “Wild Bloom” (野蛮生长), after working on “Legend of Fei” (有翡). The cast list was already updated on Douban with Zhao Liying and Wang Yibo’s names as the leads. These are just rumors and Douban is constantly updated with changes. However, these rumors have led to fan wars between the fandoms.
Since August 22, Zhao Liying’s fans have been complaining under her studio’s Weibo account with several comments saying they reject a second collaboration with the rumored “liuliang” (celebrity able to drive high traffic, bring in views, and draw attention) actor. They left the same messages saying that actor’s fans are “extremely foul” and accused them of attacking Zhao Liying for the past few days based on unconfirmed rumors. While they didn’t directly name Wang Yibo, a few fans repeatedly commented, “Reject collaborating again with ‘Legend of Fei’s’ male lead. Zhao Liying’s studio, please consider this. The harm is already enough from collaborating once. Reject, reject, and reject again.”
On August 22, Zhao Liying’s official fan club issued a joint statement with another fan club and other task teams saying that after a lengthy investigation and understanding, the rejection of a second collaboration is a demand from all fans. They stood by with the vast group of fans in firmly rejecting all types of collaborations with that male celebrity. They also expressed if the online rumors turn out to be true, Zhao Liying’s fan club and other teams will not only boycott the work, but won’t do any promotional work for the series, including recommending it, anti-defamatory work, leaving comments, and more.
What ensued was fan wars between Zhao Liying and Wang Yibo’s fans. Both sides accused each other of instigating the fan wars and started making malicious and personal attacks on their respective idols.
In the early hours of August 23, Zhao Liying’s official fan club deleted their August 22 post rejecting the second collaboration rumors and had issued a separate post apologizing for their previous irrational actions to suspend work. They said the action to suspend work was caused by pressure from various parties. Their statement also said they would suspend from posting starting from that day forward. The fan club explained this suspension is primarily due to internal reform and re-planning and also taking responsibility for their irrational and irresponsible actions. However, they made it clear that this suspension wasn’t them compromising to other malicious slander and behavior.
On the night of August 23, the Weibo Administrator account had posted a notice in which Zhao Liying’s official fan club’s Weibo account was part of the group of accounts that were permanently banned from posting. However, shortly afterwards, the notice about the permanent ban on Zhao Liying’s official fan club was no longer showing on their account. When a netizen inquired about the removal of Zhao Liying’s official fan club from the permanent ban list, Sina Weibo’s CEO, Charles Guowei Chao (曹国伟), responded that it was probably due to them taking the initiative to delete posts and apologizing first, so the punishment was downgraded.
In addition to the official fan club, Zhao Liying’s other major fan site, “Zhao Li Ying Wei Ba”, which has over 2.3 million followers, was suspended from posting. Some of Zhao Liying’s big fan accounts and fan groups were either permanently banned or suspended from posting for “attacking and inciting wars, proposing boycotts, not listening to celebrity’s management companies advice, organizing and assembling netizens to launch attacks, inciting trouble, and more.” It’s reported some of Zhao Liying’s big fan accounts had incited fans to start drama to get it trending and to grab the attention of the drama’s production team and the celebrities’ respective studios.
On August 24, the news of Zhao Liying’s fan groups and fan accounts being banned trended at #1 with over 5 million mentions at one point. However, Weibo’s Administrator account made an announcement around 6pm that they had imposed a 15 day ban from posting on a celebrity’s studio with the last name Zhao for failing to manage irrational fan behavior in a timely manner. This is believed to be Zhao Liying. The notice also said they had cleaned up content and banned accounts relating to Zhao Liying and Wang Yibo.
While the permanent ban was lifted from Zhao Liying’s official fan club on August 23, it is now also suspended from posting.