Members of the K-pop group Omega X have filed a law suit to against their talent management agency and want to be released from their multi- year contracts, according to a report published in New York Times.
The 11-member group Omega X, who had a seemingly successful International tour that culminated in Los Angeles, claimed trouble escalated after their October show when an executive from their agency, Spire Entertainment, pushed one band member to the ground. They claim they have been subject to verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, and are eager to be released from their binding contracts.
According to the same report in NYT, the executive, Kang Seong-hee, resigned last month but has denied any wrongdoing.
“I took care of all of them like their mother,” Kang told The New York Times in a phone interview. She claimed the band member, who she reportedly pushed, collapsed on his own.
In an unlikely twist, a South Korean television network even published blurred-out footage of the altercation episode that a bystander had filmed. When the band returned to Seoul after their International tour, its members took the rare step of creating an Instagram account without permission from their agency, as would normally be required. In another rare step, they aired their allegations of abuse at a news conference.
This latest case is one of the many cases where industry insiders claim management companies are exploiting young artists. In the past, several K-pop musicians have waited until their contracts ended to accuse their agencies of mistreatment.
A member of the former group Crayon Pop, Heo Min-sun, told the YouTube channel Asian Boss in 2019 that the band’s agency had withheld band members’ salaries for a year and a half after their debut. She said it had also forced them to go on diets and restricted socialising.
“Our private lives were strictly controlled. Even if I wanted to make a new friend, I couldn’t,” Ms. Heo said in the 2019 interview. Crayon Pop’s agency, Chrome Entertainment, did not respond to a request for comment.
In a 2019 criminal case, two K-pop musicians successfully took legal action against their agency before their contracts had expired.