Actor Jo Min-ki found dead amid #MeToo allegations

The #MeToo wave sweeping through various sectors in South Korea since January this year overwhelmed an actor on Friday.

Jo Min-ki, 52, (pictured) was found hanging in the building where he lived, days before he was to be questioned by police over alleged sexual misconduct.

Jo was accused of molesting some half a dozen drama students of Cheongju University where he taught acting.

Following the allegations, he lost his teaching job there last month. He was also removed from a TV drama Children of the Small God and replaced by Lee Jae Yong.

Jo mainly worked in television series and appeared in several feature films too.

When questioned last month, Jo at first denied any wrongdoing but later apologised to his victims.

This week, award-winning film director Kim Ki-duk and leading poet Ko Un faced allegations of rape or sexual abuse by their colleagues.

An actress, who refused to be named, accused Kim of raping her. She said she had to quit acting and undergo therapy for years.

The actress decided to speak up after another abused colleague accused the organisers of Berlin Film Festival of hypocrisy for inviting Kim who allegedly beat her and forced her to enact nude scenes while shooting his film Moebius.

Kim denied rape charges and said he was only involved in consensual sexual relationships.

South Korea’s literary world was shocked when poet Choi Young-mi accused top poet Ko of sexually abusing many writers. In her poem Monster, she narrated her experiences at his hands.

The education ministry will withdraw all Ko’s works prescribed for study and erase references to him and two others.
Ko denied all allegations against him.

Early this year, a female prosecutor said she was groped by a senior male prosecutor at a funeral in 2010.

These incidents reflect the plight of South Korean women in a male-dominated society which abuses, shames and bullies them.

High-profile politician quits

Earlier this week, the powerful provincial governor An Hee-jung had to step down after his female aide Kim Ji-eun claimed in a TV interview that he raped her four times during their business trips abroad.

Kim said he went on sexually harassing her even after the #MeToo movement began to inspire Korean women to speak up.

She told the channel she was scared of what was going to happen to her after the interview and hoped South Koreans would protect her.

Soon after the interview, An apologised to her and offered to step down as governor.