Naomi Osaka "in Shock" After Tennis Player Peng Shuai Goes Missing Following #MeToo Allegation - E! Online


By Cydney Contreras Nov 18, 2021 3:32 AMTags
SportsCelebritiesSexual Assault
Naomi Osaka "in Shock" After Tennis Player Peng Shuai Goes Missing Following #MeToo Allegation - E! OnlineZhizhao Wu/Getty Images

Naomi OsakaNovak Djokovic and more tennis players are calling for answers after Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai went missing earlier this month.

On Wednesday, Nov. 17, Osaka took to social media to highlight the search for Shuai, who has not been seen since she publicly accused former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. 

"Hey everyone, not sure if you've been following the news but I was recently informed of a fellow tennis player that has gone missing shortly after revealing that she has been sexually abused," Osaka wrote in her statement. "Censorship is never ok at any cost, I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and ok."

The 24-year-old athlete continued, "I'm in shock of the current situation and I'm sending love and light her way. #whereispengshuai."

On Nov. 13, French tennis player Alizé Cornet tweeted, "Let's not remain silent #WhereIsPengShuai"

According to NBC News, Shuai shared her allegations against the vice premier on the Chinese social media app Weibo in early November. The post was swiftly removed from the site, as confirmed to NBC News by Sincosim newsletter writer Bill Bishop. NBC News reported that it's unclear if the lengthy post was deleted by Shuai or China's censors. 

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According to NBC News, Shuai alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Gaoli while he was in office. Shuai wrote that she was in an on-again, off-again relationship with the official, who is currently in his 70s. 

E! News reached out to the Chinese Foreign Office for comment and did not hear back. 

In a statement from Nov. 14, WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon called for a "full, fair and transparent investigation" into Shuai's claims, adding in part, "We expect this issue to be handled properly, meaning the allegations must be investigated fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship."

On Nov. 17, he released another statement calling for her safety. "The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication, to no avail," he wrote.

For free, confidential help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit rainn.org.