China's internet search engine giant Baidu has sued a Chinese comedian for an online post after he mocked Robin Li, CEO and co-founder, reports say.
It was reported that the comedian, surnamed Sun, posted an offending joke in May, when a rumour about Li's personal life was circulating online. After that, Baidu denied the rumour and reported to Chinese authorities.
Both CNN Money and Reuters confirmed the case but they said Baidu refused to comment further.
Sun posted several pages of Baidu's legal complaint on his verified account on Weibo, showing that he was asked by Baidu to pay a compensation of RMB 5 million and issue an public apology. According to Baidu, Sun's post caused serious damage to Baidu’s image and its perception by society. Sun said he was shocked to see a company of this size sue an individual over a joke.
Sun's lawsuit has attracted huge attention across the Chinese internet. The number of Weibo accounts following him have skyrocketed from around 10,000 earlier this week to more than 27,000. Most of the comments under his post about the lawsuit, which has been pinned to the top of his Weibo page, were supportive.
In spite of the lawsuit, Sun said he is determined to keep writing jokes the way he always does and fight against Baidu in this legal battle.