In a hearing about the future of OMEGA X’s contract with SPIRE Entertainment, the agency said it wasn’t “denying” the K-pop boyband’s allegations of verbal abuse against its ex-CEO and asked the group to give the agency “one more chance”.
On Wednesday (December 7), the first court hearing was held regarding OMEGA X’s application to terminate their contracts with SPIRE Entertainment. The group first announced plans to terminate their contracts with SPIRE during a press conference held last month, where their 11 members personally voiced allegations of abuse and mistreatment against the agency’s ex-CEO Kang Seong-hee. Kang is accused of “threatening, assaulting and exploiting” members of the group in the past year since their debut, and has repeatedly denied the accusations, most recently to the New York Times in a story published this past weekend.
According to an SBS News report, as translated by Koreaboo, SPIRE Entertainment and its legal counsel contested OMEGA X’s application to terminate their contracts with the label during Wednesday’s hearing at Seoul’s Eastern District Court. The company also asked the group to give it “one more chance” moving forward. Despite saying it wasn’t “denying” OMEGA X’s claims of verbal abuse, SPIRE’s attorneys maintained that the label “was not aware that Director Kang had cursed at the members”.
“[The] OMEGA X members had a special relationship with Director Kang and would call her ‘Mom’ and told her they loved her,” said the company’s lawyers, echoing statements Kang made to the Times. “The company hopes that implementing corrective measures will clear the misunderstanding among members, and [both sides] will be able to trust each other once more.
“We aren’t denying that we, as creditors, cursed at the debtors,” SPIRE Entertainment’s representatives reportedly told the court. “Although we could never justify the verbal abuse, we would like to state that there were various circumstances surrounding the incident,” they continued. SPIRE Entertainment did not clarify the nature of these circumstances.
Allegations that Kang had abused OMEGA X first surfaced in October after the group concluded their tour of the US. Korean outlet SBS News published several video clips said to depict Kang verbally abusing and manhandling members outside the concert venue and in their hotel lobby in Los Angeles. Shortly after these clips went viral, the band launched a new, independent Instagram account, where they claimed they were subject to “unwarranted treatment” from SPIRE.
OMEGA X members were also reportedly left stranded in the US by SPIRE staff after the clips made their rounds on social media. According to SBS News, the group’s pre-booked flights back to South Korea were cancelled the day of, leaving the 11-piece and one remaining manager to buy their own tickets at their own expense. It was claimed that some of the members’ parents chipped in to pay for their flights back.
In a statement to SBS News in October, Kang said the flights were cancelled to prevent members from being in close proximity with fans on the flight. “It is not true that we left the members behind on purpose,” she said, as translated by Koreaboo.
However, SPIRE’s legal counsel reportedly told the court on Wednesday that OMEGA X’s flights were cancelled because there were no available seats on that flight at the time. They also claimed that reports of OMEGA X’s cancelled flights were already circulating by the time they attempted to re-book the group’s flights back home. The band’s lawyers denied these claims, saying that Kang had previously threatened to cancel the flights.
Additionally, OMEGA X also alleged in the hearing that they have not been paid following the conclusion of their US tour. SPIRE Entertainment responded by claiming that OMEGA X’s albums have not generated any revenue, and costs for the tour have yet to be settled.
By the conclusion of the first OMEGA X hearing, the court ordered both parties to submit additional contract documentation concerning both exclusive and consignment contractual agreements by December 14 and 21, respectively. The next trial date for the case has yet to be decided.
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