Actor Lee Myung Haeng Sentenced To Prison 1 Year After “Me Too” Allegations
Actor Lee Myung Haeng, who in February 2018 was the first theater actor accused in the Korean #MeToo wave, has been sentenced to eight months in prison for sexually harassing a staff member of a theater production.
Judge Wie Su Hyun, who presided over the case, also ordered the actor to complete a 40-hour course on sexual violence and prohibited the actor from obtaining employment in any establishment involved with youths for three years. The judge said, “The defendant was unable to reach an agreement with the plaintiff, and there is risk of a repeat offense. I did take into consideration that the defendant has no prior conviction of the same kind and that he confessed his crime.”
The plaintiff in the case said in an interview with Seoul Shinmun, “I made it through the trial because I was determined not to live as a victim. Moving forward, I want to go back to my self as a theater production member and a woman.”
She continued, speaking out about the bitter reality of making such an accusation: “If the assailant isn’t famous or the victim’s real name isn’t revealed, the reality is that you won’t get as much interest or support. I expected interest in my case to be low.” She said the only way to come back to herself was exacting justice, and revealed that her choice to remain anonymous was to protect herself from backlash.
“That the court acknowledged [Lee Myung Haeng’s] crimes and sentenced him to prison means a lot,” she said. “Other victims have obtained courage and strength with this sentencing.” A production planner that supported the plaintiff throughout the trail added, “The practice in theater of covering up these types of cases is the reason why sexual violence in the industry is so prevalent.”
After being accused of sexual harassment in February of last year, Lee Myung Haeng posted an apology on his agency’s official Facebook page and stepped down from the play “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” which he had been acting in at the time.