Actor Choi Il Hwa has come forward and admitted to being guilty of sexual harassment. Furthermore, he will be stepping down from various projects and roles following this news.
Reports revealed that, South Korean actor of 35 years and chairman of the board for the Korean Actors Association, Choi Il Hwan was found guilty of sexual harassment while working in a play several years ago.
In a private interview, he confessed that he had sexually harassed actresses in the past. He said, “I sincerely apologize. If there is anything, no matter how small, related to me I will come forward and accept the sin. I just have a heart of a sinner.”
He revealed that he decided to come clean now because he didn’t want the victims to suffer more, saying, “I do not wish the victim of my actions to go through any more damage than I have already caused. I do not want her to feel the need to reveal herself to expose me.”
Choi Il Hwan had also been involved in a sexual harassment allegation in the past. But at the time, the case had been dismissed without much attention. He revealed that he regrets not admitting to it when he was first accused. He continued, “When the news came out I wanted to apologize and relay my feelings, but it is true that I had a lot of fear. It’s late but I really wanted to apologize. I want to sincerely apologize to them. I apologize for gathering courage late. I don’t want to cowardly evade this. While this will not heal their pain, I will have a time of self-reflection and be judged by the law according to the truth.”
He decided to resign from his position as the chairman of the board for the Korean Actors Association and is ready to accept any consequence that he may face legally, follows his acts. He said, “I will resign from the position and take time away to reflect on my mistakes. If asked of me, I will face the law and pay for what I have done.” He will also be removed from his position as an academic advisor at Sejong University.
A source from Sejong University said, “Choi Il Hwa was recently appointed as an academic advisor for theatre major classes, but his appointment has been withdrawn today. He had not been an academic advisor and only got appointed four days ago to start working in March. He was supposed to give special lectures a few times a semester. However, his appointment has been removed following the reports and the issue.”
The actor will also be leaving MBC‘s upcoming drama “Hold Me Tight.” A source from the drama stated, “Following an internal discussion after Choi Il Hwa admitted to the sexual harassment allegations, we decided to replace him. If there is ever any sexual assault or sexual harassment on set we will deal with it strictly.”
Since the news of Choi Il Hwa‘s confession, there have been a flood of comments criticizing him for his actions, as well as the fact that he tried to come clean on his own.
A few comments hint that there are, in fact, victims of Choi Il Hwa‘s sexual harassment. An anonymous netizen wrote a detailed account of being sexually harassed by Choi Il Hwa, claiming that he violated them physically, mentally and emotionally.
“You tried to drag me into a motel room with you. When I yelled and fought back, you punched me in the face and I fell to the ground. Since then, I quit acting. For 25 years, I’ve been hiding my whole life. I’ve been battling depression. I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist. You ruined my dream of becoming an actress. It still enrages me that I let you take my dream away. What could possibly substitute that? Every time I see you on TV, it makes my blood boil. I sincerely hope you come face me and apologize in person, Choi Il Hwa.” — Anonymous Netizen’s Comment
With the #MeToo movement gaining great momentum, several figures in the entertainment industry have been exposed, including Lee Yun Taek, Oh Tae Seok, Jo Jae Hyun, Jo Min Ki, Oh Dal Soo, Lee Myung Hang, Han Myung Gu, Ha Yong Bu, and Kim Tae Soo.
It is disturbing to learn that in the entertainment industry the number of such figures, regardless of their country/ region/ industry they work in, is so high and seems to increases with each day.