Actor found dead of apparent suicide amid sexual assault allegations

An acting teacher who was recently accused by eight female students of sexual assault appears to have hanged himself Friday in the Seoul building where he lived.

According to the New York Post, Jo Min-ki, 52, an actor and professor of the craft at provincial Cheongju University in his native South Korea, died by apparent suicide three days before scheduled police questioning regarding women’s allegations of harassment and rape against him. Jo’s wife discovered his body in an underground parking garage at around 4 p.m that day.

According to the report, the allegations came amid the #MeToo movement in Korea, as more and more victims of alleged sexual assault and abuse are speaking out against those in power. Min-ki was accused of abusing eight of his students.

As the star of many South Korean TV and movie roles, Jo was one of the most famous men to be named in that country’s iteration of #MeToo.

The BBC reports that the actor initially dismissed the allegations, which began after a first accuser came forward in February. But as more victims spoke out against him—some producing evidence, including obscene text messages—he reportedly admitted to wrongdoing and vowed to cooperate with investigators in a statement:

“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.”

In the weeks before his death, Jo lost his professorship, a TV role, and talent agency representation as a result of the allegations.




[Feature image: Jon Min-ki/Wikimedia]