Prosecutors in Suwon, near Seoul, revealed on Friday that they had charged Oh a day earlier. The 78-year-old Oh is alleged to have inappropriately touched the body of a woman in mid-2017.
The alleged victim filed a complaint against Oh in December last year. Authorities closed the case in April, but reopened it again at the victim’s request, the 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 guide the way around the lake. I apologized because [the person] said she wouldn’t make a fuss about it but it doesn’t mean that I admit the charges.”
The AFP news agency quoted a Suwon court official as saying that “everything reported by local media is not factually correct.”
The agency added that the Korean ministry of culture pulled a government TV commercial about regulatory innovation featuring Oh off air following the indictment.
Oh was born in 1944 in Kaesong, now part of North Korea, and moved with his family into the U.S.-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 theater. In 2013, he claimed to have acted in more than 200 stage productions including Korean adaptations of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and Goethe’s “Faust.”
Prior to “Squid Game,” Oh’s best-known film role was as the old monk in Kim Ki-duk’s much-awarded “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring.”
In Netflix’s “Squid Game,” Oh played the oldest participant in the survival competition and appeared to be a kindly foil amid a mass of violent self-interest.
The role earned him a 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.
Variety has contacted Netflix for comment but did not hear back by press time.