Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi has forced a U.S.-based Chinese news website to retract stories that alleged she slept with powerful men for more than $100 million.
Zhang, 34, best known for roles in "Memoirs of a Geisha," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Rush Hour 2," settled a libel lawsuit with Boxun News. Boxun News alleged she had a relationship with Bo Xilai, a former Chinese politician jailed for accepting bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power, according to the New York Times.
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"In a series of articles published beginning in May 2012, Boxun News reported negative and untrue information about Chinese movie star Zhang Ziyi, including that she slept with wealthy and powerful men for presents and money. These false reports about Zhang Ziyi should never have been published," a statement read on Boxun News' website.
"As a result, Boxun News now renders its unreserved apology to Zhang Ziyi, has removed the entire series of articles about Zhang Ziyi from the Boxun News website and issues this formal retraction. Boxun News regrets the publication of these articles and any distress Zhang Ziyi may have suffered as a result of the articles," the statement continued.
Weican Null Meng, a Chinese-born American citizen who runs China Free Press, doing business as Boxun News, declined to comment to the New York Times Wednesday.
Ziyi said in court documents she had suffered approximately $250,000 in specific damages, in addition to general damages for injury to her reputation, and that she also sought punitive damages.
"They don't even have a photograph or a statement from anybody that she ever met him," Ziyi's attorney John Mason told E! News.
"People put stories out there often enough just to get attention, just to get more readers. This is outrageous in its face in the way it was intended to damage her career. You don't call somebody a prostitute and allege multimillion-dollar sex acts without having some evidence."
Boxun News originally argued that the news stories were protected by the First Amendment.
Then Meng argued she was working on behalf of the Chinese government to damage the website's reputation, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Ziyi last month won best actress at Taiwan's Golden Horse awards for the martial arts film "The Grandmaster."
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