South Korean prosecutors have rejected complaints by famed film director Kim Ki-duk of criminal defamation against an actress who accused him of physical and sexual assault, and journalists who reported other allegations.
Kim, 58, is one of South Korea’s top directors whose awards include the Golden Lion at the 2012 Venice Film Festival for “Pieta” and Berlin’s 2004 Silver Bear for Best Director.
But an actress in 2017 accused him of sexual and physical abuse, saying he forced her into unscripted sexual scenes and slapped her repeatedly while shooting his 2013 award-winning film “Moebius”, before replacing her with another actress.
Prosecutors dropped the sex abuse charge citing lack of evidence but fined Kim 5mn won ($4,600) for physical assault under a procedure to settle minor cases out of court.
Several other actresses came forward afterwards, anonymously accusing Kim of raping or sexually abusing them in an investigative television programme, “PD Notebook”, that aired last year as the #MeToo campaign against violence against women
took off in South Korea.
Kim denied the accusations and asked prosecutors to investigate the “PD Notebook” journalists for defamation, and the “Moebius” actress for defaming and false accusation.
He was able to do so under South Korea’s defamation law, which makes libel a crime and provides that stating the truth can still be an offence if it is deemed to have tarnished others’ social reputation.
Seoul prosecutors said yesterday that they had dismissed all of Kim’s complaints, saying the actress’s sex abuse accusation was only dropped because they were unable to find enough evidence, and there was no proof she was purposefully lying.
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