ADOR responds to HYBE, accuses BELIFT of copying NewJeans with ILLIT & HYBE of being blinded by pursuit of short-term profits

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Following confirmed reports of HYBE auditing ADOR, along with a report that Min Hee Jin had been called on to resign, ADOR has now responded with their side of things in a statement.

In it, ADOR accuses ILLIT of copying NewJeans, saying that the latter’s cultural achievements are being infringed on by HYBE.

ADOR is publicly addressing the incident of ILLIT copying NewJeans to protect our artist NewJeans and for the healthy development of the music industry and culture in Korea.
HYBE operates a multi-label system for various labels to independently create their music and pursue cultural diversity. ADOR is one of those labels. Ironically, ADOR and our agency artist NewJeans’ cultural achievements are being most severely infringed upon by HYBE.

Specifically, they call out BELIFT LAB and the similarities between ILLIT and NewJeans, but also wrap in HYBE and Bang Si Hyuk. Perhaps most pointedly, they accuse them of unoriginality with focus on short-term profits.

BELIFT LAB, one of HYBE’s labels, debuted the five-member girl group ILLIT in March of this year. After ILLIT’s teaser photos were released, explosive reactions spread online saying, “I thought it was NewJeans.” ILLIT is copying NewJeans in all aspects of entertainment activities including hair, makeup, clothing, choreography, photos, videos, and event appearances. ILLIT is being assessed as being “Min Hee Jin style,” “Min Hee Jin type,” and “an imitation of NewJeans.”
It’s a truly shameful situation.
HYBE chairman Bang Si Hyuk produced ILLIT’s debut album. The copying of NewJeans by ILLIT was not done independently by BELIFT LAB but also involves HYBE. HYBE, a leading company in K-pop, is blinded by short-term profits and is mass-producing unoriginality by copying successful cultural content without hesitation.

ADOR claims NewJeans’ comeback next month is already being impacted by ILLIT as their imitation has degraded their branding, clarifying that BELIFT nor HYBE had the approval to do this.

NewJeans is currently preparing for a comeback in May. However, ILLIT has caused NewJeans to be brought up when they are not promoting at the moment. The appearance of an imitation has caused NewJeans’ image to be consumed and has caused concern and fatigue to fans and the public with unnecessary involvement in disputes. The main culprits who created this situation are HYBE and BELIFT LAB, but the damage caused by this is entirely on ADOR and NewJeans.
There are reactions that it is understandable that ILLIT is similar to NewJeans as they are both under HYBE labels. Some even think that ADOR and NewJeans have allowed or consented to this similarity. However, these reactions are clearly a misunderstanding, and we want to clarify this. A multi-label system is a system for each label to independently create the music they want, not a system to give indulgences to other labels to copy the cultural achievements of another label just because they are affiliated labels.
And ADOR has never allowed or given consent to anyone, including HYBE and BELIFT LAB, to copy NewJeans’ achievements. ADOR does not want NewJeans and ILLIT to be associated in any way. We have no intention of tolerating promotions such as groups being sibling groups just because they debuted under HYBE labels.

Perhaps most relevantly to the coming legal case, they explain that they have raised the issues internally already, but received no response until Min Hee Jin was threatened with suspension. They also claim that HYBE is doing media manipulation with regards to her trying to seize company rights when it was always more about copyright/plagiarism.

ADOR has already officially raised the issue of the copying incident and a series of behaviors taken by HYBE against NewJeans to HYBE and BELIFT LAB. However, HYBE and BELIFT LAB did not admit their wrongdoings and were busy making excuses, delaying concrete answers. Amidst this, HYBE suddenly informed today (April 22, 2024) that they would suspend and dismiss CEO Min Hee Jin from her duties, stating that there is “concern that [CEO Min Hee Jin] could significantly damage ADOR’s corporate value.”
At the same time, they are attempting ridiculous media play such as that CEO Min Hee Jin “tried to seize management rights.” It is incomprehensible how a legitimate complaint to protect the cultural achievements of our artist NewJeans could harm ADOR’s interests or how it could be an act of seizing control of ADOR.
It appears that HYBE and BELIFT LAB along with Chairman Bang Si Hyuk think that simply driving CEO Min Hee Jin out of the company will end this issue without providing proper apologies or measures. However, ADOR will use all possible means and methods to protect the cultural achievements that NewJeans has worked for and to prevent further infringement due to copying. We want to make it clear that we cannot tolerate copying and various unfair actions continuing against ADOR and NewJeans.
HYBE and BELIFT LAB may try to dilute the incident from debut by highlighting the differences between NewJeans and ILLIT as ILLIT’s activities increase. Misunderstandings by fans and the public may also increase over time. As a result, ADOR has decided to announce an official position after sufficient discussion with the NewJeans members and legal representatives.
Through this statement, we hope that HYBE and BELIFT LAB will face their wrongdoings and contribute to the Korean music industry and culture through fervent contemplation and creation while respecting the cultural achievements of others.

Yeah, suffice to say this has indeed gone nuclear and the legal battle that follows this is likely going to hurt everybody involved. The executives have time on their side to sort out their differences, so I mainly feel bad for members of ILLIT and NewJeans, whose schedules and image could be impacted.

As far as the accusations go, I’m honestly shocked that it escalated to this point. I don’t disagree with the points that HYBE can be greedy in pursuit of short-term profits and that ILLIT are similar to NewJeans, but that also certainly isn’t limited to them, and using tweets and stuff like that in a corporate setting seems insane. It’s kinda what always happens when you’re the trend and many have tried to emulate their sound and image across the landscape. It’s happened to other groups in the past, including HYBE groups, so one gets the feeling that this resentment has been brewing for a while over involving other issues, or that this really is about wanting to go independent/having more ownership percentage. I’m also not even sure how that would be pursued in court compared to the alleged corporate violations ADOR is being accused of that don’t seem to be addressed in detail, unless she has evidence that it occurred.

Also, while ADOR/NewJeans may have needed HYBE at first, they don’t anymore, and similarly ADOR is such a small part of the HYBE conglomerate that I doubt they’ll be intimidated into giving up anything. Hence, war.