An actor/drama teacher in South Korea, who had been accused of sexually assaulting at least eight people, was found dead by police in the storage area of the building he lived in. Jo Min-ki, 52, was found by police. He allegedly hanged himself. Most of his alleged victims were his own drama students at a provincial university where he used to be a professor. Jo Min-ki had lost his job at the university following the allegations. He was due to be questioned by the police next week.
The actor, who has appeared in a number of hit TV shows and films in South Korea, had initially denied all charges. But on February 27, he released a statement of apology, in which he stated that he was in fact guilty of the crimes, BBC reports.
“Everything is my fault, and I am the one to blame. I am deeply sorry to all the victims for the pain I’ve caused, and from here on out, I will not avoid the social and legal consequences of my mistakes.”
South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. A private funeral ceremony was organized by the family on March 9. You can see clips from the ceremony in the video below.
Jo Min-ki was a veteran actor who had made his stage debut in 1982. He had even gone on to receive a number of awards for his roles in TV shows during the ’90s. Lately, he had been teaching at a provincial university in Seoul. He was accused by at least eight women, as part of the growing #MeToo movement, of sexual misconduct.
The #MeToo movement had recently gained a lot of momentum in South Korea. Only earlier this week, provincial governor and presidential hopeful Ahn Hee-jung was forced to resign after his aide accused him of raping her on multiple occasions. Other actors, Kim Ki-duk and Cho Jae-hyeon, have also faced multiple accusations. Kim denies the accusations. Internationally renowned poet Ko Un has also been accused. He too has denied the accusations.
Women in South Korea have traditionally hesitated to come forward with accusations of sexual abuse in fear of being publicly shamed and bullied. But following one particular case in January, where a prosecutor spoke out about being groped by a senior prosecutor during a funeral ceremony in 2010, a wave was triggered and now more and more women are coming forward with their stories.