HYBE Reports NewJeans Label CEO Min Hee-Jin to Police as K-Pop Exec Holds Teary Press Conference

Just days after launching an audit into subsidiary label ADOR and asking its CEO, Min Hee-jin, to exit, Korean entertainment giant HYBE says it will report the executive to police.

The announcement came ahead of Min holding an emotional press conference in Seoul, where she refuted allegations of usurping ADOR girl group NewJeans‘ management, shared conversations she had with the group’s members and addressed other rumors as the Billboard 200–topping girl group prepares to launch its new single, “Bubble Gum.”

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On Thursday (April 25) local time in Korea, HYBE shared the following statement with the media as an update to its audit regarding ADOR, CEO Min and other executives at the label:

On April 25 KST, HYBE announced that the company will report CEO Min Hee-Jin of its subsidiary label ADOR to police for a breach of trust and other related allegations today. 

HYBE secured substantial evidence to prove that Min deliberately led the plan to take over management control of the subsidiary, through the audit process. 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.

In the meantime, HYBE will continue to provide attentive mental and emotional care to the company’s artist NewJeans and best support for their upcoming comeback. The company will meet legal representatives of the respective members as soon as possible to discuss the plan to protect the act.

As previously reported, Min earned an 18% stake in ADOR in late 2023, when HYBE moved from full ownership of the label to 80%, with the additional 2% owned by other company executives.

Following Min Hee-jin and ADOR going on the offensive with interviews and multiple statements to various Korean media alleging that HYBE has been exploiting ADOR and allowing NewJeans’ concept to be plagiarized, the K-pop industry veteran held a press conference with her lawyers that lasted more than two hours on Friday.

According to the Korea JoongAng Daily‘s minute-by-minute report, Min arrived for the 3 p.m. press conference casually dressed in a baseball cap and simple T-shirt to be greeted by a slew of photographers — so many that at one point, the executive said she wouldn’t be able to speak if the camera flashes continued. Throughout the two-hour event, Min proclaimed her innocence, shared her disagreements with HYBE’s leadership, rebutted their conclusion that she wanted to seize NewJeans’ management and tried to shift focus back to her original internal complaint regarding plagiarism. Under Min’s leadership, ADOR previously claimed that HYBE’s newest act, the five-member girl group ILLIT formed under another subsidiary, BELIFT LAB, is copying NewJeans.

While weaving through stories with her lawyers alongside her, an at-times sobbing Min also addressed rumors regarding current and past HYBE artists including BTS, GFRIEND, LE SSERAFIM and more.

During the first half hour of the presentation, Min shared text message chats she claims she had with HYBE founder/chairman Bang Si-hyuk and HYBE CEO Park Ji-won. These alleged texts, according to Min, show Bang’s interest in buying Source Music, where Min previously worked, to launch a girl group. She also revealed that she recruited NewJeans’ eldest member, Minji, from Source’s trainee pool for ADOR. Min further claimed that HYBE’s debuting LE SSERAFIM under the Source label led to NewJeans being cast aside and created internal issues.

In a 2022 Billboard interview shortly after NewJeans’ debut, Min described her move away from Source Music by noting that “there would have been a number of different challenges involved” at the time and that she instead focused on creating “an independent label,” which became ADOR. “ADOR is a label that started with guaranteed autonomy, so it has no ties with HYBE’s management,” Min said. “They actually didn’t have any knowledge about anything we were going to release up until the first music video was released.” In the same interview, a question regarding Minji’s time as a trainee under Source Music was never addressed by press time.

After the first hour of the press conference, Min added claims that her contract terms with HYBE were unfair, though her lawyer said the details of the contract are confidential. Min also alleged that HYBE spun her contacting a law firm as external consulting, creating the current situation. Min pointed to multiple misunderstandings, including those that arose from jokes between her executive team, and added that HYBE still owes her money.

Through tears, Min revealed more text messages claiming that a NewJeans member’s mother called her to encourage her to speak out. During the Q&A with the press in attendance, Min contended that NewJeans members Hanni and Haerin have specifically reached out to her in support.

Separately, two NewJeans members have made public appearances amid the K-pop power struggle. Minji attended a Chanel pop-up store opening on Tuesday (April 23) in Seoul, while Danielle attended different fashion events on the Tuesday and Wednesday, though neither has made public statements on the matter.

Throughout the press conference, Min also touched on BTS (refuting an online rumor that she claimed the Billboard chart-toppers had copied her ideas), GFRIEND (saying she had nothing to do with the group’s abrupt 2021 disbandment soon after her formal start at HYBE) and took several shots at the teams behind ILLIT by sharing how the members are innocent but “it’s the adults that have sinned…copied all the formulas that we had with NewJeans,” from the concept to fashion collaborations, as reported by the Korea JoongAng Daily.

Just as HYBE did in its statement, Min ended her press conference by re-focusing attention on NewJeans. Despite the clash, the K-pop group’s upcoming music video for “Bubble Gum” is still set to premiere on Friday (April 26) via the HYBE Labels YouTube channel.

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