Squid Game actor O Yeong-su convicted of sexual harassment

South Korean actor O Yeong-su, known for his role in the popular Netflix series Squid Game’s first season, has been convicted of sexual harassment and given a suspended prison sentence, according to a court official.

The Seongnam branch of the Suwon district court handed O an eight-month prison term, suspended for two years, along with a requirement to attend a sexual violence treatment program for 40 hours, as relayed by the court official over the phone.

Denying the accusations, the 79-year-old actor, who faced two counts of sexual harassment dating back to 2017, expressed plans to appeal the decision upon leaving the court. He has seven days to lodge an appeal; otherwise, the ruling will stand.

The charges against O involve allegations of inappropriate physical contact with a female actor, such as hugging, holding hands, and kissing her cheek. He previously stated that he held the woman’s hand while guiding her around a lake, apologizing to her for any discomfort caused but maintaining his innocence.

Indicted in 2022, O faced a prosecution demand for a one-year prison sentence, according to media reports.

Following the court’s decision, Womenlink, a women’s rights organization in South Korea, commended the ruling and urged O to apologize to the victim, highlighting the familiar pattern of offenders attempting to justify their actions as gestures of “favor” or “friendship.”

O, who won the Golden Globe for best supporting actor in television for his Squid Game role in 2022, portraying the character Oh II-nam, one of the primary antagonists, has withdrawn from an upcoming South Korean film amid the controversy surrounding the sexual harassment allegations.

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