On November 16, KST, boy group OMEGA X held a press conference with their legal representatives at the Seoul Bar Association’s Human Rights Room to address the current situation between them and their agency Spire Entertainment. During the briefing, the group revealed that they have decided to terminate their exclusive contracts with the company and are planning to take legal action against it for the alleged verbal, physical, and sexual abuse they were subjected to.
While recounting their painful experiences of harassment, bullying, and even sexual abuse by Kang Seong Hee, the wife of the head (now resigned) of Spire Entertainment, Hwang Sung Woo, the members also touched upon the fact that these are not isolated events in the K-Pop industry. All the members of OMEGA X had debuted before becoming a part of this group, and some of them allegedly had to endure similar situations at their old agencies.
Taedong shared the story of how his previous label mistreated artists and subjected them to inhumane levels of labor with no personal freedom.
I know not every agency is like that, but I think a lot of K-pop trainees and even current idols are being treated unfairly…In my previous 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
He broke down in tears after adding that his previous agency also inflicted verbal and physical abuse on its trainees.
Another member, Hangyeom, shared that at his old agency, abuse was scarily normalized.
I wasn’t beaten but other members were, at the office or even during tours.
Hangyeom was previously in the boy group Seven O’Clock under Staro Entertainment and KDH Entertainment. On the other hand, Taedong was a member of Gidongdae, created and managed by 2Y Entertainment.
During the press briefing, both the group members and their lawyers emphasized that this fight was not only against Spire Entertainment but the entire power imbalanced system in society that makes many young people vulnerable to the abuse of those in power.
This isn’t just an issue that only Omega X has been through, but it’s about every young constituent of our society who is treated unfairly by those in power.
—Attorney No Jeong Eon
But the OMEGA X members also admitted that the idol industry can keep young professionals from getting help more severely than in other jobs.
Being an artist means you’re signed exclusively to one company, which leads to a closed-off environment for us, more so than other jobs…Without a conference like this, there’s no opportunity for us to open our hearts like today. I hope that these things can be reflected for necessary changes to contracts. I hope there are committees or related government bodies that can protect people like us, who suffer from this kind of unfair treatment.
Despite the odds being against them, all the members of OMEGA X decided to take a stand for themselves and are hoping to come out of this traumatic situation with a triumph. The group assured that they are not going to give up and hope to perform together on stage again.