'Squid Game' Standout Star O Yeong-Su Convicted of Sexual Misconduct, Faces Jail Time

He was sentenced to up to eight months in prison.

Squid Game actor O Yeong-Su has been found guilty of sexual misconduct for allegedly hugging and kissing a woman on the cheek against her consent. As reported in Korean media, per Deadline, O was sentenced by the Seongnam Branch of the Suwon District Court to up to eight months in prison, with a two-year suspension, following his conviction in the court case.

Korean Yonhap news agency reported that he was charged in 2022 for allegedly hugging and kissing a woman on the cheek in 2017. Suwon District Prosecutors' Office requested a one-year jail sentence for the actor during his trial and suggested he be prohibited from working with children and young people. According to the office, "He avoided his responsibility, saying the victim was 'like a daughter to him', though the victim asked for an apology, making the victim frustrated." 

The actor denied the allegations. "It's so painful and hard to stand in this court at this age like this," he said. "It is miserable for the last chapter of my life to end in such a way, making my whole life fall apart." His attorney was adamant that there was insufficient evidence to prove the woman's case.

O told reporters after leaving court on Friday that he would appeal the ruling, which includes attending a 40-hour treatment program for sexual offenders. In his past statements, O has claimed that he guided the woman around a lake by holding her hand. "I apologized because [the person] said she wouldn't make a fuss about it but it doesn't mean that I admit the charges," he said.

AFP reported that Judge Jeong Yeon-ju stated the victim's accounts of the assault and her allegations were "consistent... and appear to be statements that cannot be made without actually experiencing them." Moreover, the court stated: "What's written in the victim's diary, and the counseling report of the victim after the incident pretty much match the details of this case."

As Oh Il-nam, O garnered a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Netflix's breakout hit Squid Game. An actor for more than 50 years, his other roles include King Lear in the titular play, as well as an appearance in South Korean television series Chocolate.

According to Womenlink, a South Korean group dedicated to women's rights, the ruling is a victory. "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 stated in a post on Twitter (now X).