Park Na-rae, a 35-year-old woman comedian from South Korea, is under investigation for sexual harassment for a skit on her YouTube show involving a male doll.
In the episode of “Hey Na-rae” posted in March, which has since been deleted, Park takes a male doll, placed its plastic arms between its legs and made a suggestive comment.
The scene then caused a controversy in South Korea, where thousands of people online – mostly men – accused her of sexual harassment and called for her to be removed from TV programs, according to the Korea Herald.
Police are now investigating whether she had broken any laws.
OpenNet, a South Korean NGO that advocates for internet privacy, says her actions did not constitute sexual harassment under the policies set by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, according to the New York Times.
Park’s supporters have called out the situation, saying the events illustrate the double standards that exist in South Korean society.
Sexism is ingrained in South Korean culture, where men often use hidden cameras to spy on women in public restrooms and changing rooms, and online forums are filled with misogynistic posts. Men often brag about sexual conquests, while women are shamed for even mentioning sex in public.
Though male celebrities such as K-pop stars and public figures like a former mayor of Seoul have been criticized or received prison sentences for sexual misconduct or sexist remarks, none have faced the kind of scrutiny Park has received for her actions in the skit, according to the New York Times.
Park, the first woman comedian from South Korea to host a Netflix special, is known for her work in pushing the boundaries as a South Korean woman comedian. In her 2019 Netflix special, “Glamour Warning”, she spoke about her “first time doing it without a man.”
A few days after the scandal broke, Park resigned from her YouTube show and issued an apology with a handwritten note on her Instagram.
“I am nothing but sorry to the many people who trusted and supported me,” she wrote, and said she would “take responsibility” for her own acting and props.