Korean Wave

BTS agency files complaint against subsidiary head over breach of trust

Agence France-Presse - Philstar.com
BTS agency files complaint against subsidiary head over breach of trust
K-pop girl group NewJeans emerged as the big winner at the 2023 Asia Artist Award held in the Philippines for the first time last December. They secured two grand prizes — Singer of the Year and Song of the Year for "Ditto." They also received accolades for Hot Trend, Asia Celebrity, Best Choice and Fabulous Awards.
Photo release

SEOUL, South Korea — The South Korean agency behind K-pop sensation BTS on Thursday filed a legal complaint against its powerhouse subsidiary's head for allegedly orchestrating a plan to break away from the parent company.

The agency, Hybe, said it filed a complaint against Min Hee-jin, the chief of its subsidiary label Ador, which manages mega-popular girl group NewJeans, for breach of trust in business.

"The complaint (against Min) was filed today" to a police station in Seoul, a Hybe spokesperson told AFP late Thursday.

Hybe has secured "physical evidence" confirming that Min orchestrated a "plan to seize the management rights" of the subsidiary and separate from the holding company, it said in a statement sent to AFP earlier Thursday.

It also claimed in a separate statement that Min had been inappropriately "coached" by a shaman on management matters while leading Ador.

Min, a famed super-producer, denied the accusations in a tearful news conference Thursday afternoon and claimed she has "no interest" in management rights.

"What have I done wrong? I believe my only fault is having done my job well," she told reporters.

Min's attorney, Lee Sook-mi, said Hybe owns an 80% stake in Ador, while Min holds 18%, making it "unimaginable" that her client would attempt to take over the subsidiary.

Min, who cursed and cried at times during the conference, said her tensions with Hybe grew after she accused another of their subsidiaries of copying NewJeans with their girl group, Illit.

"To be honest, I thought they were trying to kill NewJeans," she told reporters.

"That's why I brought up the issue, with the heart of a mother, to save them. It's not merely a matter of imitation. It makes our distinct branding into something commonplace.

"It's infuriating enough when others (copy us) from the outside, but discovering it was happening inside (the company) made me even more incensed."

Successful K-pop group 

Min said the members of NewJeans, all of whom are under 20, are distraught over the situation, claiming one of them cried for 20 minutes during a video call with her.

Hybe released a statement following Min's press conference, accusing it of being full of claims that "are not true," and urging Min to resign from her post.

"We are capable of refuting all (of Min's) claims with evidence, but have decided it is not worth responding to each one individually," it said, also requesting Min to cease discussing NewJeans.

"Given that she has proven herself unqualified to be a manager, we urge her to resign immediately for the normal management of Ador."

Min, who joined the industry in the early 2000s, is widely regarded as one of the most successful producers in the K-pop scene, having worked with stars such as Girls' Generation, EXO and Shinee, among others.

NewJeans, produced by Min, is among Hybe's most successful K-pop groups, along with the BTS, whose members are all undergoing military service.

Hybe shares closed up 0.47% in Seoul Thursday.

RELATED: BTS' V dances 'Hype Boy' with NewJeans

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