What’s Going On Between K-Pop Company HYBE And Min Hee-Jin?

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or are just not a K-pop fan (which we’re told are not one in the same thing), you would have known the scandal that has shaken the Korean entertainment industry for the past few days. HYBE, the company that owns BTS’ label Big Hit Entertainment, and Min Hee-jin, the CEO of another HYBE subsidiary ADOR.

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It all started when HYBE announced that it was launching an audit on ADOR, leaving everyone wondering about the reasons behind the sudden move.

ADOR CEO, Min Hee-Jin attends an Emergency Press Conference for Media©GettyImages

The unexpected audit has launched a series of events, including allegations of plagiarism, shaman curses on BTS, a tearful press conference and so much more. Here’s a quick breakdown of everything that is going on between HYBE and Min Hee-jin…

HYBE and Min Hee-jin Controversy Explained

Who is Min Hee-jin?

The controversy has brought Min Hee-jin to the forefront, prompting many K-pop fans to ask just who the powerful figure is. A K-pop veteran, Min is the former creative director from SM Entertainment, the agency behind iconic bands like Exo, Red Velvet and Girls’ Generation.

She is also credited for being instrumental for bringing about the change K-pop underwent in the early aughts that propelled it to the international popularity it enjoys now.

Min joined HYBE in 2019 as its Chief Branding Officer and was named ADOR’s CEO in 2022. This was when she unveiled the company’s first K-pop act, the girl group NewJeans. She is also associated with BTS member V’s first solo album Layover.

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What is the controversy involving HYBE and ADOR’s Min Hee-jin about?

Min earned 18% stake in ADOR in late 2023, when HYBE moved from full ownership of the label to an 80% stake. HYBE recently launched an audit on the company, alleging that Min and one other executive was attempting to take full control over ADOR through unlawful ways. The audit team has, reportedly, seized computer assets at ADOR offices and took statements from officials of the company.

On the allegations of underhanded dealings and taking over the company, Min released a statement saying, “How can I seize management rights with the 18 per cent stake I own? It is impossible for me to seize management rights of ADOR because HYBE owns 80 per cent of the shares. Without consent, it is impossible for ADOR to be independent from HYBE. It is difficult to understand HYBE’s claim.”

HYBE also accused Min of leaking confidential information and has sought for her resignation as the CEO.

In return, Min has accused HYBE of exploiting ADOR and copying NewJeans’ concept to be plagiarised for HYBE’s newest act ILLIT, under its subsidiary BELIFT LAB. She claimed that HYBE is “blinded by short-term profits and is mass producing unoriginality.”

What happened at Min Hee-jin’s press conference?

After HYBE’s audit and allegations, Min Hee-jin held an emotional press conference in Seoul with her lawyers that lasted for over two hours.

ADOR CEO, Min Hee-Jin attends an Emergency Press Conference for Media©GettyImages

The K-pop veteran refuted allegations of usurping ADOR girl group NewJeans’ management, shared screenshots of text messages between her and HYBE founder and chairman Bang Si-hyuk and HYBE CEO Park Ji-won.

She also sought to clarify rumours that alleged she accused Bang Si-hyuk of copying her in the development of BTS and pushing BTS’ military enlistment forward.

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What was HYBE’s reaction to Min Hee-jin’s press conference?

HYBE released a statement where it announced that the company will be reporting Min to the police for breach of trust and other allegations.

“HYBE secured substantial evidence to prove that Min deliberately led the plan to take over management control of the subsidiary, through the audit process,” read sthe statement, “The evidence included detailed discussions that Min has ordered the ADOR management to find ways to pressure HYBE into ultimately selling ADOR’s shares. One of the audited parties submitted information assets to seize the management of ADOR and to attempt to contact external investors. The auditee also admitted to creating the documents to attack HYBE.”

Since a NewJeans comeback is in the works, HYBE assured that it will continue to provide “mental and emotional care to the company’s artists NewJeans and best support for their upcoming comeback.”

Since the news is breaking, you can check back here for more updates.