Members of the K-pop boy group Omega X have allegedly experienced a slew of mismanagement and abuse during their “Connect: Don't Give Up” world tour.
On Oct. 24, SBS Entertainment News shared a video showing alleged verbal and physical abuse from the CEO of Omega X’s label Spire Entertainment toward the 11-member band in a Los Angeles parking lot.
While faces and voices are blurred, video captions highlight remarks like, “Do you think losers like you could be loved by people?” and “Are you big? You didn't come this far on your own.” Later in the video, Omega X leader Kim Jae-han is seen collapsing to the ground, to which the CEO, a woman only identified as Kang, responds, “Are you that exhausted? Kim Jaehan. If you’re always sick like this, stop being a singer.”
“Have you guys ever done [something] like this when I collapsed? Do you know how many times I collapsed?” she continues. “Stand up, Kim Jaehan."
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A fellow member points out Kim is unwell, but Kang argues Kim is just acting. Another clip shows Jaehan falling, which SBS claims was a result of him being pushed. The singer is then seen breaking down in tears. Kang is later shown grabbing him by the collar inside a hotel lobby and further berating the group.
SBS also released a recorded phone conversation with Kang, who denied all allegations of verbal and physical abuse, claiming, “The person who posted [the video] on social media, they are more of an anti-fan towards the company.”
The videos came shortly after a Korean fan who attended Omega X’s concert uploaded a viral video claiming: “We’re waiting for Uber to get our food outside. I saw the CEO of [Omega X’s] company hitting the kids.”
얘들아 우리 밖에서 음식 시킨 거 우버 기다리고 있는데
애들 회사 대표님이 애들 때리는 거 봤어
진짜로 손이 너무 떨려서 어떻게 해야 될지 모르겠어 애들이 눈앞에서 맞고 있는데 아무것도 못해 pic.twitter.com/vJEqNPzx5n
— 유채 (@hwi_418) October 23, 2022
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Fellow fans, who call themselves For X, came forward to post their own clips. One shows Kang allegedly yelling at Omega X staff members after their New York City show on Oct. 4.
in nyc on october 4th, we were sending the boys off after their show and this lady (who i’m 100% sure is the same a*usive CEO) started throwing tantrums + screaming at what i assume sre staff. i recorded only a small bit bc i didn’t know who she was #PROTECTOMEGAX pic.twitter.com/EcjLeEQY7S
— gigi ♡ ox (@KlMJAEHANS) October 24, 2022
Another Twitter user on Oct. 4 alleged in a thread she saw a woman, now presumed to be Kang, yelling at the members during breakfast in their hotel in Chile.
Before SBS’ reports were released, Spire Entertainment issued a statement of apology and said the incident occurred as the members and agency were discussing their future plans with the group and “wound up airing their grievances against one another, and as they became worked up due to their emotions, they began raising their voices,” per a translation from their fan cafe via Twitter.
The statement goes on to say, “The members and the agency have currently resolved all their misunderstandings, and they ended the conversation by saying that they wanted to move forward while being considerate of each other.”
Spire Entertainment’s statement did not, however, quash social media conversations about the alleged abuse or prevent the hashtag #ProtectOmegaX from trending. Even friends and old bandmates of the members of Omega X, which was formed from idols who have all been in previously debuted groups, came forward to call out Spire.
An idol named Dongkyu, who was a member of a group called SPECTRUM with Omega X’s Jae-han, blasted Spire on his Instagram story, writing, “You’re probably the ‘Anti.’ I won’t curse you out here since I’ve already done it a lot vocally. How dare you to my dongsaeng. How dare someone like you.” Additionally, Omega X’s Sebin used to be a member of SNUPER. SNUPER’s leader Taewoong posted the #ProtectOmegaX hashtag on his Instagram story.
Other industry professionals have stepped forward to share their negative experiences with Spire Entertainment. K-pop YouTuber Edward Avila interviewed Omega X in the past and noted he had "the weirdest feeling” about the CEO when she showed up during filming.
Another netizen claimed her mother works in one of the hotels Omega X stayed in and also saw instances of verbal and physical violence from Kang, who allegedly jabbed at the chest of one member, threatened to take away the food of another and caused enough commotion that it startled other guests. The netizen’s mother threatened to call the cops in response, and other hotel guests were purportedly concerned for the members as they were seen crying.
One journalist shared how Spire allegedly only paid the Chilean translator of their Santiago stop for three hours of work when they actually worked 10. The translator also claimed Spire staff made xenophobic comments and a manager grabbed their arm roughly. The experience left them in tears.
At the conclusion of their world tour, SBS released another report alleging that Omega X’s members had their return flights from L.A. to South Korea canceled by Spire, forcing the members to pay for tickets back home themselves, with some leaning on family members for help.
Evident from photos posted online, the Omega X members made it back home to South Korea on Oct. 25.
Kang claimed their flight was canceled because “the members might have to board the flight with fans” and denied speculation that the members had been left stranded deliberately. Earlier in their tour circuit, tour promoters MC Entertainment left Omega X stranded in Chile and rescheduled their New York show as a result.
In June, NextShark interviewed Omega X for the release of their first full-length album “Stories Written in Music,” led by the title track “Play Dumb.” The group consists of Jae-han, Hwi-chan, Se-bin, Hang-yeom, Tae-dong, Xen, Je-hyun, Kevin, Jung-hoon, Hyuk and Ye-chan.