Following the latest episode of Oh Eun Young’s Report: Marriage Hell and the heated debate surrounding the “abusive“ relationship between the featured stepfather and stepdaughter, Dr. Oh Eun Young released an official statement explaining her on-air comments.
The episode went under massive fire from the viewers when the stepfather was spotted groping the stepdaughter when the stepdaughter was making it clear she was uncomfortable.
Following what was deemed blatant sexual abuse, Dr. Oh was said to have referred to the stepfather as “someone very lonely.” Viewers also reacted with outrage about the fact that she also advised that the stepdaughter might be “sensitive to touch” while diagnosing why the stepfather is getting “rejected.”
I feel terrible. I can tell that [the stepfather] is someone very lonely, so I feel terrible for [him].
— Dr. Oh Eun Young
In addition to criticizing the stepfather, viewers also expressed disappointment at the production team for airing the scene and at Dr. Oh for “trying to excuse the stepfather’s behavior as loneliness.” Some even accused Dr. Oh of “having changed” since appearing on “one too many television shows” and demanded her removal from the show.
In response to the growing backlash, Dr. Oh clarified in a press release that, throughout the episode, she had in fact tried to educate the stepfather on respecting the boundaries the stepdaughter set.
Hello, this is Oh Eun Young. It is saddening that I have to pen this statement, when the viewers have shared so much love and support for me all along.
I’m aware of the backlash caused by the “Go Stop Couple” episode that aired not too long ago. I know that the episode has caused great concern and rage. I understand how serious the matter is, and I fully agree that stepdaughter’s well-being and safety should be prioritized.
Regarding the episode, I would like to clarify a few things as some of my ideas were not included and/or delivered in a different manner than intended.
I have always been against physical punishment. And I am firm in my stance against child abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and assault—as I mention in all my books. It is unacceptable and it is not negotiable. I know the consequences of such actions; I know how much those behaviors can harm the human soul.
The scene in question caused a lot of concern for me as well. I did tell the stepfather that, no matter the intention, he absolutely should not touch the stepdaughter’s body or do anything against her will. Throughout the shoot, I emphasized the idea that he cannot force physical interaction when the stepdaughter does not consent to it. I was firm in educating him and I explained a lot of things as part of the solution for the couple.
— Dr. Oh Eun Young
She also claimed that her comments had been “edited” to seem uninterested in helping the stepdaughter. According to Dr. Oh, the shoot went on for over five hours. In the process of turning the material into a 80-minute episode, a lot of her teachings didn’t “make the cut” and so, in the end, she might have seemed indifferent to the situation.
She also pointed out that both comments about the stepfather’s loneliness and the stepdaughter’s sensitivity had been taken out of context.
Following my advice, there had been a tremendous change in the way that the stepfather treated the stepdaughter. But in editing a five-hour footage into an eighty-minute episode, a lot of the actual consultation work had been excluded. And it has led to viewers seeing the episode as negligent toward helping the stepdaughter. I’m heartbroken over the fact that viewers thought I was someone who would overlook sexual harassment of a child.
When I talked about children who are ‘sensitive to touch,’ I was not talking about the stepdaughter featured in the episode. I meant for children who are sensitive to touch, in general, physical interaction with even their parents could feel uncomfortable and painful. I meant such children do require extra caution. It was mentioned as a supplementary example when I was making my point about how parents should respect the boundaries that their children set. I was not calling the stepdaughter to be sensitive. I was not blaming the situation on the stepdaughter and I was not excusing the stepfather’s behavior either.
When I said I felt bad for the stepfather, I meant that I felt bad for the unfortunate series of events that he had endured during his childhood. I was not attempting to justify his problematic behavior by connecting it to his past, though. I was emphasizing the importance of good parenting by asking the stepfather about his personal experience with his parents.
— Dr. Oh Eun Young
Dr. Oh promised to continue looking after the stepdaughter and to be even clearer with her consultations to minimize misunderstandings.
My biggest concern and priority is the stepdaughter. To make sure she can grow up in a safe environment, I’m going to continue helping her to the best of my abilities. I appreciate the viewers’ interest in her well-being and willingness to look out for the stepdaughter. The production team and I promise that we will monitor the couple regularly and prevent any of the discussed issues from arising. Also, the team and I will reflect on what has happened and learn from the constructive criticism received.
I’ve been appearing on various platforms to share knowledge because I wanted to be as accessible as possible for all parents around the world. I’m ashamed that the recent episode caused so much concern. Going forward, I’ll be extra thoughtful and clear with consultations to minimize any misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
— Dr. Oh Eun Young
Though both MBC and Dr. Oh Eun Young have released apologetic statements about the episode, the online debate remains heated. While some believe that the producer/editing team is more heavily at fault, most remain unconvinced.
- “I was waiting for her statement, but this is disappointing… If she really cared about the stepdaughter, she wouldn’t have released a piece so strung out with excuses. I’ve lost all hope.”
- “I’ve been looking for Dr. Oh’s statement. Now that I have it, I feel kind of torn. All I know is that Oh Eun Young’s Report: Marriage Hell is not an informational program it pretends to be. I think it should be taken off air. And I think if Dr. Oh is to continue appearing on television, she should stick to what she knows and does best.”
- “With each revelation, I become more convinced that the episode should not have aired, ever. It’s devastating. Theqoo doesn’t see a lot of it, but some disgusting people are out there causing harm to the stepdaughter already.”
- “Yes, the producer is probably more at fault that Dr. Oh is. BUT she also sat back while the episode aired. The consequences of that, she will have to face. The program should be taken off air. The stepfather should be taken to court for sexually harassing the stepdaughter. That’s the only way people will learn from this episode… That touching a child is absolutely unacceptable.”
- “I’m really disappointed by this. I’d hoped that, as a child psychologist, she would try to help children. But guess not.”
- “Dr. Oh can release all the statements she wants. That doesn’t change the fact that what she did to the stepdaughter is wrong.”
Even with Dr. Oh’s clarifications, viewers are arguing that, as a medical professional, she should have “known better and done better.”
- “Emphasized to him that he can’t touch? A child was being molested by a grown man. Telling him to stop isn’t going to change anything. Would she have ‘told the man to stop’ if the same thing was happening to her?”
- “I had a lot of respect for Dr. Oh and I hope that this doesn’t harm her career or the influence she has. BUT I also think that she won’t be able to avoid being held accountable for this. She should have stopped the episode—or at least the problematic scene—from airing after watching the footage. As someone in her position, she had the power to protect the child from having the moment of her sexual harassment being broadcasted all over the nation. She had the power to insist that airing it will be detrimental to the stepdaughter’s well-being. But she didn’t. She had done so before, in her other shows focusing on children. She kept some footages private to herself and the panel, to protect the children being observed. So she knew it was possible and she had a track record of having done so before. Yet this time, she didn’t exercise that power because this program is more about the couple and not the child. She did neglect the well-being of the stepdaughter. And now, thanks to the episode, regardless of what Dr. Oh had intended, the viewers have been given the idea that it is ‘kind of over the line’ to call the police when a grown man touches a seven-year-old girl in inappropriate places against her will. She did that and she can’t not hold herself responsible for it.”