‘Squid Game’ actor O Yeong-su gets suspended sentence in sexual harassment case

By Thomson Reuters Mar 15, 2024 | 3:34 AM

By Hyunsu Yim

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean actor O Yeong-su, who starred in the first season of the hit Netflix series “Squid Game”, was convicted on Friday on charges of sexual harassment and handed a suspended prison sentence, a court official said.

The Seongnam branch of the Suwon District Court sentenced O to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, as well as 40 hours of attendance at a sexual violence treatment programme, the court official said by telephone.

The 79-year-old actor, who was charged with two counts of sexual harassment in 2017, had denied the accusations.

As he was leaving the court, O told reporters he planned to appeal against the decision. He has seven days to appeal or the ruling will be upheld.

O was indicted in 2022 and prosecutors had previously sought a sentence of one year in prison, according to media reports.

Womenlink, a women’s rights group in South Korea, welcomed the ruling and urged O to apologise to the victim.

“The defendant resembles other offenders of sexual violence in theatre in the past who tried to cover up their sexual violence as ‘favour’ and ‘friendship’,” the group said in a post on X.

O won best supporting actor in television at the Golden Globes for his role in “Squid Game” in 2022, becoming the first South Korean to snatch the award.

He played the elderly character Oh II-nam, one of the main antagonists of the first season.

The controversy over the accusations of sexual harassment saw him dropping out of an upcoming film in South Korea.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Editing by Ed Davies and Alex Richardson)