K-Pop Fans Are Enraged Witnessing OMEGA X Verbally and Physically Assaulted By Agency's Staff
It's not the first time it happened, and it's probably so much worse behind closed doors.
Behind K-pop idols' beautiful celebrity life on stage hides the ugly truth of the K-pop industry. The internet once again discusses companies mistreating their idols, and this time fans witnessed OMEGA X' horrible condition during their world tour, bringing it to the attention of the internet community. Shocking videos and stories of staff rudely interacting with Omega X caused many Korean fans and Omega X's colleagues to step up and call out their agency, SPIRE Entertainment, as well.
Omega X consists of eleven members who got their second chance to debut after their previous group was disbanded. They have been touring for the past month outside of Korea, yet both the group and fans had many hardships and unpleasant memories, both with their tour organizers and staff. The concert dates were moved, Omega X members didn't have enough rest during the long tour and some of them looked ill.
Spire Entertainment has released a statement addressing Omega X rescheduling issues and added the following words: "We will prioritize Omega X's health and well-being during this time". Despite that claim, many fans witnessed several moments of K-pop idols being harshly mistreated during their tour.
The CEO of Spire Entertainment, Kang Seonghee, and other staff were seen yelling and pushing Omega X's members even in public places, not caring about the group's image or proper professional attitude. Even total strangers had to interfere, trying to protect the staff from verbally abusing Omega X. The members themselves tried to shield each other while getting shouted at, they also begged people who tried to intervene to not worry about them and not to meddle in, worrying about aggravating their staff and worsening the situation. The witnesses shared it was very heartbreaking seeing younger men on the verge of tears or crying yet not fighting back.
On October 22, Omega X held a concert in Los Angeles, USA. After the event, Omega X's leader Kim Jaehan almost fainted on the street, presumably also having a panic attack. He collapsed on the ground, and other members told their CEO about this. In return, the woman started shouting and scolding Jaehan, even threatening others with raised fists. Kang Seonghee ordered Jaehan to get up and said he should quit being an idol if he was about to be sick like that every day. Members tried to placate their CEO by asking her to stop and saying their leader was in pain. Kang Seonghee dismissed their struggles, saying she was also hurt and blamed members for not taking care of her.
Omega X held the fainting and crying member and led him to the hotel. In hotel's lobby, fans also saw how idols were being pushed by staff as well, one of them falling down.
When asked about the video pieces of evidence by SBS news that covered this issue, the CEO denied everything and said she was just really upset at that time and it wasn't verbal abuse in any way. She said the rumors were spread by a hater of their agency, and that she usually speaks formally with members which can be proved by their chat messages. In the interview, Spire Entertainment's CEO insisted it was an unusual situation where her discussion with Omega X got too intense, and she was exhausted as well, yet the idols did not care about her well-being.
Fans were horrified at witnessing staff treating OMEGA X members like that. After the shocking video spread out online, K-pop fans got enraged and trended hashtag #ProtectOmegaX. Because of that, many other incidents began to surface. Turns out, it wasn't just one instance of Omega X getting mistreated by their agency, but previously all happenings were brushed off and forgotten.
As fans further shared, before the idols were very communicative with fans on social media, but when they have re-debuted as Omega X, the agency prohibited them from using SNS. Some of Omega X' members have tried to go on live stream about 12 times, yet every time their live was forcibly stopped right after beginning. The company did not give any explanation about such strict rules and the ban on social media.
Fans became uneasy, feeling something was not right. The agency did not provide any other content besides announcing the usual schedule, and when Omega X almost disappeared from social media, fans became even more worried. They started writing petitions, asking for clarification about members' well-being and the SNS ban.
It seems like the CEO showed an example, and the rest of the staff followed with rough treatment as well. Many fans noticed Omega X being scolded for all the small reasons, even for talking to fans. The managers and bodyguards also did not hesitate to use physical force against both Omega X and FOR X (fandom name). People reported they were being shouted at and physically shoved during hi-touch and fan-meeting events, the staff was rude even if the fans were minors.
Many shared their own interaction with Spire Entertainment's staff and all the other instances they felt extremely bad and worried for Omega X. They were shocked to witness how during the show several members would hide behind the curtains and collapse on the floor to take even a little break before forcing themselves to come back. Even when one of Omega X members had a severe illness, he was still pushed to perform.
People also noticed how the managers didn't care to bring idols water even when they asked, Omega X was reprimanded for taking too long while talking to fans, and someone saw one of the members collapsing on the way to their waiting room, yet the staff simply passed by them.
"She's such a horrible lady and she's so entitled. Their staff is also useless like a member collapsed backstage during the nyc show and no one helped him. Staff saw him and just walked past him like I wanted to cry so bad and I couldn't even do anything." – @THESTARSEEK3R
"My friend said the lady literally went banging on the boys rooms yelling in the middle of the night. She was so crazy and abusive that my friend said the hotel had to call the cops on her. But according to my friend who works at the hotel the cops said they will investigate her actions towards the boys. My friend said he could tell OmegaX members are really nice and good humble boys since he's encountered some of them at the hotel. The lady truly needs to be punished for her abusive treatment towards OmegaX members." – @Vcandi10
The CEO and the staff have also underpaid, and verbally and physically abused one of the international translators working for Omega X. They kept looking down on a woman, speaking informally, told many xenophobic comments, and acted violently against her, bringing her to tears. FOR X are afraid that Omega X has it even harder, working in such oppressing atmosphere with a staff like that for a long time.
"If the staff is rude with people they don't know, imagine what they do to the boys. Fernanda told me the group were the nicest people she ever met (she has worked with plenty) but the staff were the issue. She got abused by people she didn't know. This can't happen again." – @rebeccavmedina
After the controversy broke out, Spire Entertainment released its statement: The CEO apologized for giving fans the reason to be concerned and insisted fans only witnessed the parts of the discussion when emotions got intense. She explained it was simply a discussion about the promises and actions Omega X can fulfill for their fans, and they happened to express disappointments in each other. Kang Seonghee also claimed they have already resolved all problems with Omega X since that night when the video took place.
However, fans were not calmed down by this response. Many people stressed that such mistreatment, unfortunately, is very common in the K-pop industry, especially for less known agencies and groups.
"Oh wow that sounds like a deflection and brush under the rug especially since this was not the first time she was witnessed being abusive." – @remy_moon
Other artists had already stood up for Omega X. Donggyu, Jaehan's fellow member in his previous group Spectrum, posted an angry comment on his Instagram, saying he won't curse in public because he already told everything out loud to them and that the staff's behaviour seems more like actions done by a hater. Taedong's sister also posted the SBS news with Spire Entertainment's CEO interview on IG with the caption "I can't help but laugh".
Other people close to Omega X members also posted the news with #PROTECTOMEGAX hashtags and their own comments.
Their colleagues and friends expressed how hardworking these young idols are and confirmed they saw entertainment using violence against them. The fans also agree that Omega X is respectful and kind and certainly does not deserve such treatment.
FOR X hope the news will reach many K-pop fans and that Spire Entertainment's CEO and all staff will take responsibility for their actions so Omega X can pursue their idol dreams healthy and happy.