South Korean actor of 35 years and chairman of the board for the Korean Actors Association, Choi Il Hwa admitted that he has committed acts of sexual harassment in the past.
Choi Il Hwa is best known for starring in many minor roles in popular dramas, such as City Hunter, Oh My Venus, Coffee Prince, King Of Baking Kim Tak Gu and more.
In a private interview, he admitted he has sexually harassed actresses in the past. He said, “I sincerely apologize. If there is anything that I am guilty of, I admit to it and will pay for my actions. I am truly sorry.”
He revealed that he decided to come clean now because he didn’t want the victims to suffer more.
“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 Hwa
Choi has been involved in a sexual harassment allegation in the past. At the time, the case was dismissed without much attention. He revealed that he regrets not coming clean back when he was first accused.
“I should have apologized when it happened, but I was scared. I know it’s late but I want to say sorry. I’m really sorry to those I’ve hurt.”
— Choi Il Hwa
He decided to resign from his position as the chairman of the board for the Korean Actors Association and is ready to take any consequence that he may face legally.
“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.”
— Choi Il Hwa
“I am sorry it took me a long time to confess. But I no longer wish to run from my wrongdoings. I also apologize that I didn’t see things from the victim’s point of view. I take this matter very seriously.”
– Choi Il Hwa
Choi’s confession came four days after he was appointed a professor at Sejong University. Korean netizens are wondering if he will step down from the professor position as well. Choi’s agency said it will investigate the matter and release the official statement when ready.
Since the news of Choi’s confession, there have been comments criticizing Choi 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. They claim 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 #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.