The Korea Herald


[Newsmaker] On-air ‘sexual harassment of stepdaughter’ controversy sparks police probe

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Dec. 22, 2022 - 13:19

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A man who was seen inflicting unwanted physical contact on his 7-year-old stepdaughter on a recently-aired TV show is under investigation for sexual harassment, local police said late Wednesday.

According to the Jeonbuk Provincial Police Agency, officials have commenced the pre-arrest investigation on the person after being notified of the allegation.

“Details of the case will not be revealed due to fear of secondary damage on the victim. (Officials) will summon the related individuals when the allegations are confirmed,” the agency said.

Police will kick off an official criminal investigation if it decides the allegations are valid, at which point the suspect will be booked. It has been reported that a similar allegation has been raised about this specific household in the past, although details have not been revealed.

In the episode of the MBC show “Oh Eun Young’s Report: Marriage Hell” aired on Monday, the suspect is seen inflicting physical contact on the daughter of his wife from her first marriage. He described the action as a game, despite the child’s repeated refusal.

The show, aired every Monday, features various problems of married couples and counseling by celebrity psychiatrist Oh Eun-young on how to deal with such issues.

A screengrab from an episode of the MBC show A screengrab from an episode of the MBC show "Oh Eun Young’s Report: Marriage Hell" (MBC)

The scene led to a flurry of complaints from the viewers, and the broadcaster was forced to issue an apology earlier Wednesday.

“We were only focused on analyzing the problem of the couple, and we failed to consider the consequences of broadcasting the content that led to concern from the viewers,” it said in the public apology.

In addition to complaints to MBC, nearly 3,000 people complained to the Korea Communications Standards Commission. After the controversy, the broadcaster deleted the video of the episode from its homepage.

MBC said that much of Oh’s advice had been edited out, and that the show’s producers were at fault for giving the false impression that she had been “compassionate toward the husband’s actions.” Oh did mention on the show that such physical contact on a young child is something that should be approached with care even for a biological father, and a stepfather should be even more cautious.

It added that Oh and the producers will continue providing professional help for the family.