Following disturbingly escalating stories of abuse under SPIRE Entertainment, OMEGA X held a press conference today to address the situation. Moments ago they announced that they will be terminating their contract with the agency, demanding compensation, and will be pressing charges against their CEO Kang Seong Hee and Chairman Hwang Seong Woo.
“Something unimaginable in 2022 happened. We have told the agency that we will be terminating [the members’] exclusive contract, which will lose its legal effect starting today. We will press charges and demand compensation,” said attorney No Jong-eon from LawFirm S.#OMEGA_X— Celeb (@CelebConfirmed) November 16, 2022
The criminal charges are especially notable, as is their decision to go after not only the CEO but the Chairman as well.
OMEGA X’s legal representative announced the group’s plan to file a criminal complaint on the charges of assault, intimidation, indecent act by compulsion, and attempted threat. He added, “We have plenty of evidence including photos, videos, and voice recordings.” The lawyer claimed that the members were threatened after the assault incident and that they were sent a certification of contents telling them to pay 300 to 400 million won (approximately $230,000 to $300,000) per person. Furthermore, above CEO Kang was Chairman Hwang who ignored everything despite being aware of the situation. The law team announced their plans to receive compensation from Chairman Hwang and to hold him criminally liable for aiding and abetting CEO Kang.
Furthermore, they basically talked about everything that’s been reported on their situation so far except from their own mouths now , though there were also some new details and an expansion of the topic of mistreatment and abuse to beyond them or this company.
Members Jaehan and Hangyeom both explained that they put up with everything because they felt it was their last chance, and the members talked about incidents of verbal/emotional abuse. Jaechan mentioned how the CEO used death as a threat, “She would threaten us that we should ‘grovel’ if we wanted to remain as OMEGA X and that she would either kill us or kill herself if we didn’t.” Yechan talked about realizing they were being emotionally manipulated, “We felt like fools when we realized that we were being gaslighted. When the older members were called for drinks, I wanted to tag along and help. We got in the habit of just laughing it over with jokes or trying to forget it.“
It got to the point where member Hangyeom would need treatment for anxiety and he still feels scared about the CEO calling. He said a panic attack was the reason he missed a Mexico City performance, and in relation to that described one grim interaction with the CEO.
“Before I went to the hospital, I told her once that her behavior was literally making it hard for me to breathe properly. When I told her I couldn’t breathe, she mocked me saying, ‘We’re going to get articles about Song Han-gyeom’s anxiety orders leads him to quit the band.’ I was shocked.”
Regarding the day that started all of this, Yechan says they were hiding from her and the hotel stepped in, “On the day of the verbal and physcial assault that took place at the end of our tour, we locked ourselves in our hotel and tried to hide. We asked the hotel to separate us from the company and protected ourselves until the moment we left the country.“
Remarkably, she was threatening them until the end.
.@OmegaX_official‘s Junghoon: We haven’t received any sincere apology from the CEO. In fact, she mentioned military issues and threatened us with a statement of accounts, and we thought that we wouldn’t be able to (solve the problem) by having conversations. #ProtectOMEGA_X— KpopHerald (@Kpop_Herald) November 16, 2022
Glad they at least protected themselves after that, especially since Jaehan confirmed that they were sexually assaulted and harassed by the CEO, and Sebin explained that she plied them with drinks.
Jaehan explained that the CEO called them up and sexually assaulted and harassed them, “CEO Kang Sung-hee used to call us after our training, forced us to drink and sexually harassed us by making sexual remarks or touching our thighs and faces.”
Sebin: “When we refused to go to drinks, the company CEO threatened us that there will be no next album and force us to get drunk.”
Perhaps most impressive was the general slant towards emphasizing that this is an industry problem as well. Taedong began by speaking up about abuse happening at his previous agency as well.
Taedong: “I’m sure not all agencies are like this, but I believe that many hopeful K-pop trainees and even active K-pop singers are being mistreated and exploited. I used to practice for 15 to 17 hours every day in my last agency without a day off.” They took my phone and demanded by passcode. Verbal and physical abuse also took place at my last agency.”
And Hangyeom followed up by confirming abuse at his former agency too, “There was abuse in my old agency, too. I wasn’t beaten but other members were, at the office or even during tours.“
Yechan spoke on them wanting to bring attention to the wider issue that abuse is still going on, and says that he hopes changes can be made.
“I’ve seen internet comments that read ‘It’s hard to believe such things are still happening these days.’ We are here because of the people who take an interest in us and love us, but there are still people out there being gaslighted and mistreated.”
“I hope that these things can be reflected onto contracts. I hope there are committees or related government bodies that can protect people like us.”
They finished with thank yous and messages to fans, even in English.
Yeah, they did exceptionally well here to not only speak their truth on the abuse but also somehow still manage to pull back the lens to the bigger picture within the industry and call for wider change. All the respect to them and I can’t root for these guys hard enough.