O Yeong-su, the veteran South Korean actor best known to Western audiences for his co-starring role in the Netflix streaming sensation Squid Game, has been charged with sexual misconduct by authorities in South Korea, Variety reports. O was charged and then released without detention earlier this week, in relation to an incident from 2017 in which a woman alleges that he touched her inappropriately. The initial report was filed in 2021, closed by police, and then reopened earlier this year at the accuser’s request.
O has reportedly denied the charges against him in conversations with prosecutors, issuing a statement to local news that, “I just held her hand to guide the way around [a] lake. I apologized because [the person] said she wouldn’t make a fuss about it but it doesn’t mean that I admit the charges.” According to Variety, a government commercial starring O has been pulled from rotation on Korean TV in the light of the indictment against him. It’s not clear what timeline the legal process surrounding these charges will operate on.
O co-starred in Squid Game as Oh Il-nam, an old man whose presence in the show’s deadly games causes serious complications for its main characters, as they struggle to keep him alive amidst increasingly lethal competitions. A long-time stage actor who often appeared as Buddhist monks in South Korean theater, O has had his international profile significantly increased by Squid Game’s success; last year, he won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film for his role in the show, an unprecedented win for a South Korea-produced TV show. He was also nominated at the Emmys in the same category. Given the events of Squid Game’s first season, it’s unclear whether the indictment against O will impact filming of the show’s announced second season.
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