OMEGA X’s Hwichan refutes allegations of sexual assault by former label’s CEO

This story contains mention of alleged sexual assault.

OMEGA X member Hwichan has refuted allegations of sexual assault against the ex-CEO of his former label, SPIRE Entertainment.

On March 19, SPIRE Entertainment held a press conference “to announce that [the label’s] former CEO [Kang Seong-hee] is not a criminal but a victim of sexual harassment,” according to Korea JoongAng Daily. Notably, members of the boyband had pressed charges against Kang for “threatening, assaulting and exploiting” the group in 2022, an allegation that the ex-CEO denied.

Korea JoongAng Daily also reported that the company’s current CEO Hwang Sung-woo – who is also Kang’s husband – and the company’s lawyer were present at the press conference, however Kang herself was absent. Hwang accused OMEGA X member Hwichan – full name Lee Hwi-chan – of sexually assaulting Kang while the band were still signed to the company.

During the conference, Hwang played CCTV footage of the alleged incident and claimed that the situation occured because “[Hwichan] was upset that he had to start his mandatory military service soon” and Kang was trying to comfort him when he “forced himself onto Kang.”

“Kang tried to push Lee Hwi-chan away, but he did not let up and kept on touching her,” Hwang told press. “Kang kept on trying to undress her upper body. She pushed him away and told him off, but Lee forced himself onto her. She felt threatened and calmed him down so as not to provoke him.”

Two brief clips of CCTV footage, allegedly depicting the incident, were released without audio during the press conference held by SPIRE Entertainment. The company also claims that the footage was lost until two weeks ago, when it was allegedly restored.

“We thought so long and hard about today,” Hwang said. “Multiple times she resorted to extreme measures, such as drugs, and I had to watch [Kang] struggle for her life at the hospital. All I thought was that I had to save her. Even now, she is coping each and every day with shame.”

Shortly after the footage and accusations were made public, IPQ Entertainment – OMEGA X’s current management – addressed SPIRE Entertainment’s allegations in a statement to TenAsia, denying them and alleging that the footage provided had been “fabricated”.

“We are requesting for SPIRE Entertainment to release the complete video. The CCTV footage of Hwichan touching CEO Kang Seong-hee’s breasts was fabricated. It was an act of coercion, because Kang had requested for Hwichan to show her affection,” IPQ Entertainment said.

The label also added that it is “preparing the relevant materials to support” their response to refute the allegations. “We not only have transcripts, but also records of conversations in which [Kang] continuously requested expressions of affection [from OMEGA X],” it said.

“SPIRE Entertainment has been continuously disrupting OMEGA X members’ activities despite being exposed of having threatened and forced the members to drink [with Kang] by a local court decision in January 2023,” the label’s statement read. “We have also reported her for sexual harassment, defamation and disruption of business, which are currently under investigation.”

In 2022, OMEGA X and SPIRE Entertainment were embroiled in controversy after footage of Kang being allegedly physical and verbally abusive toward the boyband during their North American tour surfaced and made their rounds on social media.

A month after the footage had gone viral, the OMEGA X members held a joint press conference to claiming to have been subject to physical, verbal and sexual violence perpetuated by Kang and other SPIRE staff.

The band subsequently and collectively filed to terminate their contracts with SPIRE and was granted the nullification months later. Shortly after, they signed exclusive contracts with IPQ Entertainment to continue releasing music as a group.

The post OMEGA X’s Hwichan refutes allegations of sexual assault by former label’s CEO appeared first on NME.

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