South Korean film director Kim Ki-duk is accused of rape


Thu, Mar 08, 2018 - Page 6

A South Korean actress has accused award-winning movie director Kim Ki-duk and a top actor of rape.

The fresh allegations against Kim come after his presence at this year’s Berlin Film Festival caused controversy following a fine for physically assaulting a different actress.

In the latest case, an actress, who refused to be named, said that Kim repeatedly tried to enter her hotel room when they were shooting a movie in a remote village several years ago.

“It was a living hell ... so many nights, he came to my room and slammed the door or phoned me at the room repeatedly until I responded,” she told MBC TV.

Kim eventually summoned her to his room to “discuss a script,” she added.

“Then he raped me,” she said.

The movie’s male star, Cho Jae-hyun, also raped her, she said.

The two men “shared stories of raping actresses and there was a sense of competition between them,” she said in an investigation aired late on Tuesday.

The actress said she had quit acting afterward and was in therapy for years.

Her accusations come as the #MeToo movement gradually gains ground in South Korea, which remains socially conservative and patriarchal in many respects, despite its economic and technological advances.

Earlier this week, a provincial governor and former presidential contender resigned after an aide accused him of multiple rapes.

Kim — who has won prizes at the Berlin, Cannes and Venice film festivals — was fined 5 million won (US$4,600) by prosecutors last year for physically assaulting an actress on set.

They dismissed sex abuse charges citing lack of evidence, but the case sparked controversy at this year’s Berlinale, which invited Kim despite its support for the #MeToo campaign against abuse and mistreatment of women.

Kim told MBC TV in text messages that he was only involved in “consensual sexual relationships.”

“I never tried to satisfy my personal desires using my status as a movie director,” he added.

Kim has previously rejected abuse accusations against him, saying he ensures no one “suffers” on the sets of his ultraviolent, sexually explicit art movies.

Cho, who has starred in many of Kim’s movies and is known as his “alter ego,” told the station he would talk about the accusations “once an investigation begins.”

“I’m panicking,” Cho said. “I am a sinner, but many of the things I see in the news are so different from the truth.”

Cho apologized last month after being accused of sexually abusing female crew members and students.

He was fired from the college where he was teaching and removed from a TV drama production.

Another actress interviewed by MBC TV on Tuesday said Kim repeatedly asked to see her breasts and her naked body during an audition process that felt “deeply humiliating.”

All three of Kim’s accusers remain anonymous for fear of public shaming.