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Dispute between Hybe and Ador CEO grows with lawsuit and rebuttal video

By Kim Jae-heun

Published : June 11, 2024 - 17:39

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Ador CEO Min Hee-jin speaks during a press conference held in Seoul on May 31. (Yonhap) Ador CEO Min Hee-jin speaks during a press conference held in Seoul on May 31. (Yonhap)

The conflict between Hybe and Ador CEO Min Hee-jin is showing no sign of improvement despite Min's offer of reconciliation, marked by a fresh lawsuit and the release of a rebuttal video by Belift Lab, the agency behind a K-pop rookie girl group Illit.

Belift Lab announced Monday in a statement shared on X that they are filing an additional civil lawsuit against Min accusing her of business interference and defamation. Also on Monday, it released a 28-minute YouTube video refuting the allegation of Illit's plagiarizing NewJeans’ concept and style.

The agency pointed out in the video that the Seoul Central District Court’s approval of Min’s preliminary injunction on May 30 pertains to a request to prevent the exercise of voting rights held by Hybe during Ador's temporary shareholder meeting, and was not a ruling on the plagiarism issue. Belift Lab emphasized that the civil lawsuit for defamation filed against Min is a separate matter that will proceed accordingly.

“We will hold Min accountable by filing a civil lawsuit today for the damages suffered by (our) artists and staffers and creators of Belift Lab, who have achieved remarkable debut success (of Illit) in K-pop history,” Belift Lab said in the statement.

“The criticism and attacks against the artists (Illit) were based on edited photos and videos that captured similar scenes without considering the context of the entire content. Raising plagiarism allegations in public without presenting valid evidence of copyright infringement is not an appropriate method of addressing concerns, especially for someone in the responsible position of a creator and representative of a label,” the agency added.

Illit (Belift Lab) Illit (Belift Lab)

During her second press conference in Seoul on May 31, Min reaffirmed that her stance on Illit’s alleged plagiarism had not changed.

“I am a consistent person. There will be no sudden change of (my) mind,” Min told The Korea Herald when asked if she still thinks Illit had copied NewJeans’ concept. However, she requested that her dispute not be connected to any Hybe artists.

Meanwhile, overseas fans of BTS have demanded that Min leave Hybe as they argue the CEO has been deemed to have negatively influenced other artists under the parent company’s management.

On the international petition site “Change.org,” a petition titled “Min Hee Jin Leave Hybe Company” was posted on May 27. Nearly 51,500 people have agreed to the petition as of Tuesday.

Change.org is a platform where individuals can support causes and request action through online petitions. Since its inception in 2007, Change.org has seen participation from about 530 million people across 196 countries worldwide. Among the petitions posted to the site, the platform claimed that around 97,000 have led to actual changes.