O Yeong-su, the actor famed for Squid Game, has reportedly been charged with sexual misconduct in South Korea, according to AFP and local media.

The actor, who received a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe nomination for his work in the Netflix hit, was indicted yesterday without being placed in custody on suspicion of having illegally touched a woman’s body five years prior. AFP and local reports corroborated the information.

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Local sources state that after the victim filed an appeal, the case was reopened after being closed earlier this year. According to a local media site, JTBC, O admitted that he had “held hands with the woman to show the way around a lake” and that, while he had apologised, this was not an admission of guilt. O played Oh Il-nam, the oldest game participant, in Netflix’s most-watched episode of all time.

“I just held her hand to guide the way around the 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,” the actor said in a statement shared with JTBC.

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A Suwon court representative was quoted by AFP as claiming that “everything reported by local media is not factually correct.”

O has been performing for almost 50 years, but his performance in Squid Game catapulted him to fame and praise on a global scale. Other performances include playing King Lear in the play of the same name and making a cameo in the South Korean television programme Chocolate.

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Squid Game is the first Korean drama to top the list of the ten most popular TV shows on Netflix worldwide each week. The United States and the United Kingdom were two of the 94 nations where it peaked at number one. After 17 days of availability, Netflix projected that Squid Game had drawn over 111 million member households globally. 

After 28 days, it had drawn over 142 million member households, surpassing the 82 million views that Bridgerton had attracted in its first 28 days in December 2020 and had become the most-watched series on the service at debut.