Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi' s publicist released a statement on Tuesday, to dismiss allegations that she had been paid to have sex with a disgraced politician.
"We read this outrageous report in the Hong Kong's Apple Daily. It sent stone-cold chills down our spines and has left us with a feeling of deep sadness," Zhang's team said in an online statement.
"During the last month, Zhang Ziyi has been busy working day and night on the set of 'The Grandmasters.' Why should this devoted and responsible actress have to suffer this kind of slander and defamation?" the team asked.
Zhang is reportedly under investigation by the Chinese government and has been barred from leaving the country.
Hong Kong's Apple Daily, as well as several other Chinese mainland and Taiwanese media publications, reported on May 29 that a wealthy associate of the former Chinese official has confessed he first paid Zhang 6 million yuan (US$944,244) in 2007, to have sex with her.
Reports said he later negotiated deals for the official to have sex with Zhang in Beijing at least 10 times between 2007 and 2011. The reports further claimed that Zhang's "sexual transactions" with various rich and powerful figures have made her the tidy sum of 700 million yuan (US$110 million) over the past decade.
Several media outlets are speculating that the investigations into these allegations could explain why Zhang was absent from the recent Cannes film festival. Zhang's new film, "Dangerous Liaisons," premiered at the 2012 Cannes film festival. Her co-star, Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung, was in attendance.
"Friends have advised us to release a short statement and not take this seriously," Zhang's team continued, "The more you argue, the more you will stir up. It would be better to step aside until people lose interest and the lies disappear. The innocent will always be innocent. "
"But this time we don't want to be silent. If we leave these lies to spread, what is completely untrue will be at risk of becoming a half-truth," the statement read, "This time, we are telling those rumor-makers that we will respond. We will prove our side of the story; we'll seek legal justice; we'll find you in the darkest corner and go after you."
"We will seek justice for Zhang Ziyi by taking legal action against Apple Daily and against any other media publishing these false reports. "
Hong Kong law firm Hadlanes has sent a letter to Apple Daily, stating the following: "Your allegations concerning our client are completely untrue and constitute a grave libel upon her. In consequence of the publication of these statements, our client's reputation has been seriously damaged and she has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment."
Hadlanes asked for a complete retraction and an open apology by May 30, 2012 and has reserved the rights to proceed with legal actions and claim damages.
Zhang's team also thanked supporters and said no matter what libel may occur, Zhang Ziyi never forgets that she is a professional. "We just want to help her get rid of this disturbance and seek justice. Then she will be able to shoot her films in peace and quiet and present you, her fans, with more and better films in return."