Omega X sheds light on heartbreaking abuse allegations, says it’s an industry-wide problem
Boy group Omega X announced the termination of their exclusive contract with Spire Entertainment at a press conference held at the Seoul Bar Association Human Rights Hall in south Seoul on Wednesday. The boy band added that they will be taking legal action against the agency for alleged verbal, physical and sexual abuse.
Omega X has responded to recent allegations that members were verbally and physically abused by Kang Seong-hee, the wife of former Spire Entertainment chief Hwang Sung-woo, who quit after the accusations surfaced in october. Rumors began swirling after a fan claimed to witness Kang’s beating and verbal abuse on the street after the band’s concert in Los Angeles.
Omega X, which debuted in 2021, consists of members Jaehan, Hwichan, Sebin, Hangyeom, Taedong, Xen, Jehyun, Kevin, Junghoon, Hyuk, and Yechan. All of the members have had previous careers in the K-pop industry.
The eleven members attended the press conference with two of their legal advisers: attorneys No Jong-eon and Seo Ju-yeon from S Law Firm. Dozens of fans gathered in front of the Association of Seoul Bar to show their support, although they were not allowed inside. building.
“It’s not just a problem that only Omega X has been through, but it’s about every young constituent of our society being treated unfairly by those in power,” said attorney no. “Members speak up to make a difference.”
“The reason we just got this kind of treatment is because it felt like our last opportunity in the entertainment industry,” Jaehan said.
“It wasn’t the first debut for any of us, so we didn’t want to risk our careers because of this kind of incident. We thought we had to put up with it for our fans, but we reached our point. We want to muster the courage and speak out on behalf of all people who are being treated unfairly somewhere in our society.
“After practice, CEO Kang made us drink a lot with her,” Jaehan continued. “She always told us ‘You better bow to me if you want to continue being Omega X’, ‘I’m going to kill you’ or ‘I’m going to kill myself’. The members were very emotionally unstable because of that. , and many are currently undergoing psychiatric treatment.We want to be respected as human beings, not treated as a product.
Lawyer Seo also alleged that CEO Kang sexually harassed the members. Seo claimed that Kang was verbally inappropriate, would put her face close to the members, make them listen to her breathing, and stroke their thighs.
“At first, we tried to trust him and follow his lead,” said the youngest member of the group, Yechan. “But the more time passed, the more I realized that she had such a negative impact on our lives. She took the time for us to practice; she would call the members and talk to them for hours, and I remember the rest of the members waited in the practice room until late at night, waiting for Kang to let them go. When I finally realized that I was on gas, I felt like a fool.
“When the older members were forced to drink heavily with Kang, I tried to join them so I could be some kind of helper,” Yechan continued. “I tried to laugh it off, but I couldn’t take it anymore. […] I don’t think that kind of thing happened to us. I read the comments saying, “Does this stuff happen these days?” This is happening in many corners of society right now – people are being gassed and abused by those with power over them. I hope we can encourage these people, even in a small way.
“When we tried to turn down the heavy drinking, she would intimidate us saying there would be no next album for Omega X,” Sebin said.
Lawyer Seo claimed that this abuse and sexual harassment had been going on for a year.
“Kang would oscillate between being nice to the members and then mistreating them,” she said. “Members have become unable to trust each other. Kang’s sexual harassment shows how power imbalances crush the dreams of young people. Our law firm will do its best to ensure that members can continue to be active and that this kind of abuse does not happen again.
According to Lawyer No, Law Firm S has applied for the copyright of the name “Omega X” and plans to assign the rights to the name when the members of Omega X find new direction.
“We plan to file charges against Kang for physical assault, threatening behavior, sexual harassment and financial abuse,” No.
“We never received a sincere apology from him, even after the news broke. [last month]”, Junghoon said. “In fact, after that, she continued to threaten us about our [impending] compulsory military service and gave us financial statements of accounts that made no sense. We realize that it would be useless to talk about it more.
“Omega X won’t give up because we’ve come such a long way,” Jaehan said. “We want to protect our 11 members and we want to play together on stage again. These are our plans for the future.
The members explained the extent of the alleged abuses during the press conference.
“Not only Kang, but also employees and managers shouted insults at us and set us on fire,” Jaehan said. “And on the recent world tour, we were also physically assaulted by them.”
“On the last day, we were physically and verbally attacked in a restaurant,” Yechan said, referring to the moment a fan witnessed in October. “Afterwards, the 11 of us locked ourselves in a hotel room and hid.”
Members claimed that this incident was far from the first of its kind; they alleged that Kang repeatedly shouted and kicked the doors when the members were hiding from his abuse.
Member Hangyeom opened up about his mental health.
“I really tried to put up with it,” he said. “Since this was my second debut, I didn’t want the fans to hear the word ‘disband’. So I just picked up the phone whenever drunken Kang called me all the time; during our hours and even late at night after work. Every time I came home, I grew anxious that Kang would call any minute. I couldn’t take it anymore and started going to a psychiatric clinic. In fact, even now, when I hear a phone ring or vibrate, or anything like an alarm, I panic.
“Even before I started psychiatric treatment, I had many occasions where I couldn’t breathe due to his endless calls and verbal abuse,” Hangyeom said. “Once when another panic attack happened, I told Kang that I couldn’t breathe. She laughed at me saying, ‘Oh, are we going to see articles that say ‘Omega X becomes a 10-member group’ because ‘Hangyeom has panic disorder?’ I was shocked by that.
“Another high-ranking official from our agency said ‘Die’ to us in the group chat, while we were on tour in South America,” Yechan said.
According to Jaehan, the members got together after returning to Korea from their world tour and decided to seek legal help.
The members shared their past experience before debuting as Omega X, emphasizing that this incident is not unique to Omega X or Spire Entertainment.
“I know not all agencies are like this, but I think a lot of K-pop apprentices and even current idols are treated unfairly,” Taedong said. “In my old agency, I practiced 15 to 17 hours a day without a single day off. They confiscated my phone and forced me to share my passwords.
“Verbal and physical abuse were also common in my former agency,” Taedong said before bursting into tears.
“I tried my best to achieve my dream of being a singer. I’m so sad that these bad things keep happening to us.
“There was also abuse in my old agency,” Hangyeom said. “I was not beaten but other members were, in the office or even during the tours.”
The members say they have plenty of video evidence to prove the verbal, physical and sexual abuse they say they suffered.
“Being an artist means you’re signed exclusively to one company, which leads to a closed environment for us more so than other jobs,” Yechan said. “Without a conference like this, we have no opportunity to open our hearts like today. I hope these things can be taken into account for the necessary changes to the contracts. I hope there are related government committees or bodies that can protect people like us who suffer from this kind of unfair treatment.
The boy band opened a new Instagram account with the handle omega_x__for_x in a bid to communicate with fans during the upcoming lawsuit.
“We won’t give up,” Jaehan said through tears. “We will continue to make music and perform on stage for our fans.”
Spire Entertainment’s abuse allegations against Omega X first surfaced primarily among fans on Twitter when a file was uploaded in October.
The file features a female voice, which is presumed to be Kang.
The female voice is heard shouting in Korean, “Who do you think you are?” and “You, get up”.
A male voice also says, “We are one step away from collapse.”
A thud can be heard, followed by someone crying.
The recording is said to have been taken by an Omega X fan, who claims to have witnessed the incident. She added that a woman, presumed to be Kang, pushed and kicked the limbs.
The agency responded with a statement in October but did not address allegations of physical altercations.
CEO Hwang resigned last week but did not respond to allegations of abuse.
BY HALEY YANG [[email protected]]