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Label CEO resigns over abuse allegations against bandmates

Nov. 8, 2022 - 17:20 By Choi Ji-won
K-pop band Omega X (Spire Entertainment)

The CEO of Spire Entertainment has resigned, days after allegations of her verbal and physical abuse against the agency's boy band Omega X made headlines.

Spire Entertainment on Monday evening announced the CEO had resigned from her post as the agency chief through an official statement posted on Omega X's official fan website.

"We feel a heavy responsibility over the incident. The CEO behind the disgraceful event during the tour has voluntarily resigned (from her post)," the statement read.

Earlier on Oct. 22, an allegation that the CEO, known to be a woman in her 50s identified only by her surname Kang, had assaulted the Omega X members during the band's US world tour was first raised by a fan who posted an audio file of Kang abusing the bandmates. More witness statements and video evidences of Kang's such behavior came up over the following days, sparking intense public fury and raising calls for proper protection of the boys and response from the label.

However, Spire Entertainment on Oct. 24 only released a statement saying the situation was a mere misunderstanding between the members and the CEO and that everything has been resolved. There was no explanation about the alleged violence by Kang against the young members.

More reports that the members had been mistreated by the label -- which holds a comprehensive legal responsibility to supervise and protect the bandmates during their schedules -- continued. It was reported that the bandmates had their original plane tickets back to Seoul from Los Angeles on Oct. 23 canceled by the label and that some of the members had to pay for the new tickets. Kang had reportedly remained in the US following the incident.

Spire Entertainment's statement on Monday comes after around two weeks of silence from the agency and Kang.

"We express a sincere apology to the members and their parents who have been hurt by the incident and all the fans who have loved Omega X," the statement said, adding, "We won't avoid the bitter truths that everyone has told us and will try our best to work them out."

"We will work to make sure that the members do not face such an event ever again and we will communicate with the bandmates to make a better environment in which the artists can focus on their activities," the statement added.

Screenshots from an SBS Entertainment News video show Spire Entertainment's CEO Kang (marked in blue) yelling at Omega X members. The image on the right shows Jaehan (marked in red) collapsing onto the floor from panic disorder. (SBS News YouTube)

Omega X is an 11-piece K-pop boy band that debuted under Spire Entertainment in June 2021. The band consists of 11 men all in their 20s: Jaehan, Hwichan, Sebin, Hangyeom, Taedong, Xen, Jehyun, Kevin, Jung-hoon, Hyuk and Yechan.

The scandal broke out after Omega X had ended its monthslong first global concert tour "Connect: Don't Give Up" in Los Angeles on Oct. 22, and was slated to fly home the next day.

Ahead of the agency's Monday announcement, the members of Omega X also shared their side of the event on Sunday through their social media.

"Although our group has had our happy moments, we've also endured some painful times. And we worried that we might lose everything that we've achieved until now if the damages inflicted upon us were disclosed to the world," the members said in the post, adding, "But now, we have decided to put behind those fears and act with courage."

It was the first time the members had spoken publicly since allegations of the CEO's violence against them were raised. Although the post did not directly mention the recent event, it revealed the bandmates had been unfairly treated by the company.

"This group is the second chance that we 11 members have grabbed by overcoming our despair and not giving up on our dreams," the online post read. "Although there were days when we were mistreated by the company so badly that we wanted to cry, the sound of cheers from fans and the supportive messages that we read before going to bed were the only things that helped us endure."

This image posted on Omega X's Instagram on Nov. 6 shows the hands of 11 members piled together. (Instagram @omega_x__for_x)

The post, which was made on Omega X's new Instagram account, came with an image of 11 hands piled together, seemingly representing the firm solidarity among the bandmates.

In closing their statement, the members said, "We will continue chasing our dreams like now. We will stand in front of our fans again with good music and performances. The eleven members with the same goal, and the fans who share this goal with us, are the most precious treasures in this world that we do not want to ever lose again."