LONDON — Chinese actor Li Yifeng, the face of Prada, Panerai, Remy Martin and L’Oréal Paris, has been detained by the authorities for repeatedly visiting prostitutes, which is illegal in China.
According to the state-run media CCTV, Li’s misconduct, which he confessed, was exposed during a criminal investigation.
While the original announcement from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau regarding the detention on Weibo did not disclose his full name, CCTV confirmed that it was the actor, 35, citing sources from “authoritative channels.”
Prada and Panerai said shortly after the news broke that both brands have terminated Li’s ambassadorship.
Li is the latest high-profile target in China’s crackdown on the entertainment industry, following a slew of big Chinese stars like Deng Lun, Zheng Shuang, Kris Wu and Zhao Wei who fell from grace for alleged personal and financial misconduct last year.
He walked in Prada’s fall 2022 repeat show in Beijing last month, alongside major film stars such as Liao Fan, winner of the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, and Kara Wai Ying Hong, three-time recipient of the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress.
With over 60 million Weibo followers, Li rose to fame by starring in a series of popular TV shows. He won the best actor award at the China TV Golden Eagle Award in 2018 for his portrayal of a spy agent in the period drama “Sparrow.”
Besides being tapped by luxury brands, Li was also the face of Asics, Budweiser, Chinese natural herbal remedy maker King To Nin Jiom, and golf equipment maker Honma.
All brands had severed ties with Li as of Sunday evening.