Police have launched an investigation into South Korean comedian Park Na-rae, 35, after she was accused of “sexual harassment” and making “inappropriate” remarks and gestures with a male doll during a segment for her YouTube show Hey Narae.
The segment reportedly saw Park place the figure’s arm between its legs to resemble a penis before making lewd remarks.
Police in Seoul launched the probe after receiving a public complaint about the segment and will be investigating whether the comedian has committed a crime.
While allegations of sexual harassment were raised, Park’s actions are likely to be reviewed under a law prohibiting the distribution of “obscene material,” for which offenders can face up to a year in prison or a fine of 10 million won ($9,000).
Park’s agency said it will cooperate fully with the investigation.
The latest investigation follows weeks of controversy since the segment aired on March 23. The incident led to several calls for Park to be edited out of and pulled from two television shows (I Live Alone and Where is My Home) she was featured in at the time, according to comments posted by South Korea’s MBC television network where both programs aired.
Park issued an apology via Instagram at the time stating: “As a comedian and a celebrity, it is my responsibility and obligation to check the production, character, acting and props, but I have disappointed many through my unprofessional reaction.”
The Hey Narae series was canceled following the controversial video in late March, which was deleted by the show’s production company. The program was co-hosted by YouTube star Kang Hye-jin.
The production team said at the time: “We sincerely apologize for disappointing the subscribers and viewers. We are sorry to the two hosts for the inappropriate production.”
In 2019, Park starred in her own Netflix stand-up comedy show Park Na-rae: Glamour Warning, in which was described to be “sassier and dirtier than ever before.”
The latest investigation is among several sex-related scandals that have rocked the country’s entertainment industry in recent years.
Back in 2019, K-pop star Jung Joon-Young admitted to secretly filming sexual encounters with women and sharing the footage online.
He admitted to sharing the footage in a KakaoTalk group chat with other celebrities, including singer Lee Seung-hyun, known by his stage name Seungri, of the K-pop boy band BIGBANG.
Last March, Seungri announced his retirement from the industry following separate allegations that he solicited prostitutes for business partners in exchange for investments.