Squid Game star Oh Yeong-su has been dropped from a series of public service advertisements in South Korea in the wake of the sexual misconduct charges that were filed against him on Friday. The 78-year-old actor, who won a Golden Globe award for best supporting actor for his performance in the smash-hit Netflix thriller, has also pulled out of a co-starring role in an upcoming stage play in the Korean city of Jeonju, according to local reports. 

Prosecutors in the city of Suwon, South Korea, revealed Friday that they had indicted Oh for allegedly improperly touching a woman in 2017. He was subsequently released without detention. 

The alleged victim filed the complaint in December 2021 and the case was sent to prosecutors in February. Police dismissed the case in April, but prosecutors began reinvestigating after the woman appealed the decision. According to local reports, Oh has denied the allegations. 

In a statement shared with Korean broadcaster JTBC, the actor said: “I just held her hand to guide the way around the lake. I apologized because they said she wouldn’t make a fuss about it, but it doesn’t mean that I admit the charges.”

An official from the Suwon district prosecutor’s office told AFP on Friday that “everything reported by local media concerning Oh’s case is not factually correct,” without elaborating.

South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced that it would pull down public interest ads that feature Oh promoting the government’s regulatory reform efforts. Images and posts featuring Oh have also been dropped from the South Korean government’s YouTube channels and official websites following the charge, according to the Korean Herald. 

A 50-year veteran of the Korean stage and screen, Oh has estimated that he appeared in over 200 stage plays, as well as numerous TV series and occasional films. He achieved improbably late-career global fame thanks to Netflix’s breakthrough thriller Squid Game, playing Oh Il-nam, a seemingly out-of-place old man competing in the show’s greed-driven battle to the death. His twinkly-eyed performance earned him South Korea’s first Golden Globe Award for best supporting actor in a series, miniseries or television film, as well as a Primetime Emmy nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series. 

It was unclear whether Oh would return for the planned second season of Squid Game. Netflix has not commented on the charges against him. 

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