Prosecutors in Suwon, near Seoul, revealed Friday that they had charged Oh a day earlier. Oh, 78, allegedly touched a woman’s body inappropriately in mid-2017.
The alleged victim filed a report against Oh in December last year. Authorities closed the case in April, but reopened it at the request of the victim, Yonhap news agency reports. Questioned by prosecutors, Oh denied the allegations.
In a statement Oh shared with Korean broadcaster JTBC, the actor said: “I just held her hand to show the way around the lake. I apologized because [the person] said she wouldn’t make a fuss about it, but that doesn’t mean I’m admitting the allegations.”
The AFP news agency quoted a Suwon court official as saying that “everything reported by the local media is not factually correct”.
The agency added that the Korean Ministry of Culture pulled off a government television commercial featuring Oh following the indictment.
Born in Kaesong, now part of North Korea, in 1944, Oh moved with his family to the US-controlled south after the 38th parallel became a dividing line and before the inter-Korean war.
He began acting professionally in 1967 and has spent most of his career in live theatre. In 2013, he claimed to have starred in over 200 stage productions, including Korean adaptations of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and Goethe’s ‘Faust’.
Prior to ‘Squid Game’, Oh’s most famous film role was as the old monk in Kim Ki-duk’s award-winning ‘Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring’.
In Netflix’s “Squid Game,” Oh played the oldest contestant in the survival contest, appearing to be a friendly adversary in the midst of a mob of violent self-interest.
The role earned him a Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film, as well as a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Variety has reached out to Netflix for comment, but have not heard back at the time of writing.