The “Me Too” movement, which has exposed sexual harassment and assault in various industries around the world, has reportedly altered the contracts of actors in South Korea.
Ever since the movement, which takes its name from survivors taking the courage to report their own experiences with sexual harassment, gained steam in the South Korean entertainment industry, many actors accused of harassment or assault have stepped down or been removed from their respective projects. As a result, there has been a significant impact on the broadcasting networks and production companies that finance those projects.
In order to prevent this situation, drama productions have added a new provision to actors’ contracts. If an actor is accused of sexual harassment after being cast, they will have to pay a penalty for being removed from the project. A drama slated to air on a public broadcasting channel in the summer has already included this clause in their actors’ contracts.
A source from a management agency said, “There have been a lot of dramas affected by the ‘Me Too’ movement, so the production companies’ position is understandable. If you’re an honorable person, you won’t be affected by the clause. It’s a good condition.”
A cultural studies professor commented, “Many drama production companies are concerned about casting now that many ‘Me Too’ allegations are coming out. However, they cannot directly ask the actors, and even if they did, they would just say no, so they decided to rewrite the contracts instead.”
The financial penalty will not only include the cost of the actor’s salary for the project but also an additional amount.
Recently Lee Seo Won was accused of sexual harassment and removed from his role in the tvN drama “About Time.” He had filmed more than 10 episodes before being replaced with another actor. Other high-profile instances of actors removed from their projects in the past few months include Oh Dal Soo from “My Ahjussi,” Choi Il Hwa from “Hold Me Tight,” and Jo Jae Hyun from “Cross.”
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