Songs from Chinese rapper Kris Wu’s new album have been removed from U.S. iTunes Charts after allegations that his fans have been using bots to manipulate the ranking.
Wu, a former member of the popular Korean-Chinese boy band Exo, has just released his new album “Antares” last Friday, managing to edge out both Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga off the U.S. top spots upon launch.
Over the weekend, songs from the album took up six spots in the top seven songs in the iTunes’ US chart, eclipsing Grande’s new single “Thank U, Next,” which debuted in the fourth spot a day later.
Kris Wu sending his bots when thank u, next is about to hit #1 on iTunes pic.twitter.com/no8jGbaHsu
— R Sweetener (@arianaspilltea) November 6, 2018
NOT TODAY SATAN! NOT TODAY @KrisWu.
— Ariana Grande Charts (@chartariana) November 6, 2018
TIME’S UP: The Kris Wu chart manipulation through VPNs is over and the US iTunes chart is back to normal pic.twitter.com/EIS3C6dzax
— Lady Gaga 96 (@gagamonster96) November 6, 2018
Grande’s track managed to move up to the second spot behind Wu’s “November Rain” by Monday.
Controversy erupted on Twitter after some Western fans, who might not be familiar with Wu’s career, accused the singer’s camp of using bots to push his tracks higher on the charts.
Wu, who boasts 45 million followers on Weibo, has a huge following in Asia where he is recognized as a pop-rap phenomenon.
A post supposedly from Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, also accused Wu and his management of using bots to manipulate the iTunes sales charts. Braun would later claim the tweet sent under his name was not real.
While both of the tweets have since been deleted, screenshots of posts have already been circulated on social media, according to the South China Morning Post.
Some have pointed the blame to Wu’s fan clubs who have been found on Weibo rallying fan members to purchase songs multiple times to help boost the album’s rank.
However, as one fan pointed out, the sales should still count as valid as it is normal for some fans to sometimes make multiple purchases to support their idol.
“The sales results could be very authentic. It is normal for Kris’ fans to make purchases several times per person to support their idol. They can afford it,” a fan surnamed Hu told the Global Times.
Some Wu fans found the accusation to be ridiculous and unfounded as no evidence have been forwarded so far.
“It’s low key xenophobic to accuse a Chinese artist of cheating with no evidence and disregarding his large fan base in his home country, “ Twitter user Parisweenter wrote.
“You simply can’t see a non-western person succeed especially if your it hurts your western favorite.”
compilation of sinophobic + racist remarks against Kris Wu. bc this is the reality for chinese who make it big in the west. they are faced with racial slurs, attacks on their culture, remarks telling them to stay in china, and the threat of a witchhunt against fellow chinese. pic.twitter.com/28OLMyiP8C
— C-Ent Translations (@CEntNews1) November 4, 2018
Feature screenshots via iTunes