Min Hee Jin’s second press conference features reconciliation with HYBE, the injunction ruling, and future plans of NewJeans & ADOR, and more

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Alright, so after the injunction ruling and the responses of both sides, the next step for the HYBE/ADOR conflict is a second Min Hee Jin press conference.

The first turned the tides of public perception for her, and while the second was a lot less entertaining, there was some interesting stuff at play here.

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First and foremost, following Min Hee Jin’s court win yesterday to save her own job at ADOR, HYBE took the rather predictable steps of dismissing two of her executives and appointing three new ones from HYBE in Kim Joo Young, Lee Jae Sang, and Lee Kyung Jun. That move gives HYBE a 3-1 voting advantage and control over the company’s board, which Min Hee Jin’s lawyers said would constitute a violation of the injunction.

So that’s the news up until the press conference.

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As for the actual press conference, Min Hee Jin addressed a broad spectrum of issues, so I thought I’d be best if I separate things into sections again and use bullet points to summarize everything (1/2/3/4/5/6).

On The Court’s Injunction Ruling

  • Min Hee Jin wants to make clear that while she’s under HYBE, her duty is CEO of ADOR, and she disputes that any of her conduct was a breach of trust to ADOR.
  • Her lawyer said the firing and replacing of board members means they can try to fire Min again using just ADOR’s board, which is a concern, but that hasn’t been broached yet. If they do try that, they may have to file another injunction. He thinks HYBE living up to that injunction is not calling another meeting.
  • Asked about what happens if the HYBE execs on the ADOR board don’t help, MHJ claims that would be a breach of trust for the company. But they only met one person for a short time.
  • Her lawyers do say they consider co-CEO a breach of contract.
  • The lawyer also says the ADOR board members who were ousted will continue working at the company as they have a lot of work ahead of them. I presume this means she will simply rehire them since she is still CEO of the company.
  • Her other lawyer makes clear that the main question is whether there was reason to fire her, and basically she says there wasn’t. The court wanted evidence of actual damage and HYBE focused on the hypothetical instead of reality.

On Reconciliation With HYBE

  • Min Hee Jin talks about the company belonging to the shareholders rather than one person, HYBE needing a unified vision, and that dedicating herself to ADOR helps HYBE (hence the court decision). She then basically makes an open ask for reconciliation: “I don’t know what Hybe has to say about this. I’ve opened this press conference to convey my message to them because they are not talking to me. I am sure they are watching this. We both hurt each other’s feelings, but I hope we put it all down and move on to the next chapter.”
  • Later she again seemingly makes an appeal to HYBE shareholders, asking HYBE to be rational about her value, basically: “As an executive, you need to see the numbers. If the numbers don’t come out as they are supposed to, then the management should be criticized. That objective, radical approach is what is needed here. All the rest of the emotions are all plays on words.”
  • While talking about betrayal and trust, Min Hee Jin takes a decidedly neutral stance: “The verdict was saying that the trust has been broken [between two sides], but that doesn’t mean one side was at fault. It happened on both sides, also, emotionally. The expression of betrayal is not related to corporate or legal judgements. What I think is that HYBE cannot decide who is loyal and not: An employee who bows to her bosses but isn’t good at what she does, or one who doesn’t know how to mingle but proves her worth through numbers.”
  • When a reporter asks why she’s asking HYBE for reconciliation, MHJ responds that she didn’t start the fight, says she already has control of the company so trying to strengthen it is nonsensical, and the future is up to HYBE to decide whether they want to be a white or black knight.
  • She also believes HYBE was first to break the trust, she had no power to do anything with an 18% stake, and that rambles a bit about feeling outcasted in the company. She then states she’s only thinking of NewJeans in making this offer, because it would allow them to continue with their plans and to move on from this.
  • MHJ also says she’s making this offer publicly because otherwise it could be twisted, and doing it honestly in front of everybody makes her intent clear. She just wants the noncompete revised, not the whole contract. If that’s taken care of then the rest is fine.
  • In terms of independence, she says she’s willing to re-examine it, but she just wants to be left alone.
  • MHJ says she hasn’t yet met with Bang Si Hyuk or Park Ji Won, but when talking about shareholders that’s just anybody who owns a stock. That’s why she wants to secure ADOR’s independence so they can quietly make profit for shareholders. She basically leaves it in their court.

On Management Strategy

  • MHJ explains that entertainment is not about putting inanimate objects out in a factory and using them as a product, but about moving people’s minds, which is what makes people crazy consumers. The emotional impact moves people and grows the industry but there’s also risks that come with that attachment from fans.
  • MHJ doesn’t believe in separating production and management, believing they don’t merge eventually. She compares it to wanting to recently donate NewJeans’ festival fees to the public, but she couldn’t do it unless she was in charge, so it’s important to have synergy in the same way so everything goes smoothly.
  • MHJ believes she’s proved her strategy of synergizing the creative and monetary sectors with the results she achieved in two years what boy groups take five or seven years.

On The KakaoTalk Messages

  • A lawyer reiterates that the KakaoTalk messages were illegally revealed, weren’t approved by the people in question, and claims the court said there was no reason for an audit.
  • Asked about talking bad about NewJeans and whether she’s discussed it with them, Min Hee Jin dodges the question: “It would take too long to explain. Do you remember the Kakaotalk three years ago? That’s what it was about.” Min adds, “To be honest, what did I actually talk about then? You know the “wow” I replied back to ADOR’s vice CEO? I don’t remember that. That’s not what’s important. It’s valueless. NewJeans did not contact me because of that.”

On NewJeans & Their Families

  • Asked about how much say NewJeans had in this, MHJ says they want to speak up but if they do then people think they’re being used.
  • She talks about their relationship, saying the parents and members checked on her to make sure she doesn’t kill herself and always asked if how she was doing. Says yesterday they were crying together. Says they talked on the phone for hours about whether they were hurt or not.
  • MHJ says she’s close with their siblings as well, saying she sometimes plays teacher and sometimes mother. She says sometimes she jokes she’s their step-mother, and that having an open dialogue with their parents is important.
  • MHJ once again brings it back to money, as she says the relationship is what helped ADOR’s revenue as she can respect the wishes of the parents and members, developing mutual trust.
  • Later, MHJ also like goes on an aside about her being a teacher and wanting to raise kids to be able to live independently after they’re done with entertainment, so it’s about teaching them.
  • When asked about their future, she says she’s backing down for them, her children: “If you just think about me, it’s all easy. But to think about everybody, I think of NewJeans as my own children. If I think about them, it’s so painful. Let’s do this, and everything’s gone? It’s all so painful. So that’s why I said I would back down.”

On Other Groups Being Hurt

  • MHJ is asked about BTS, ILLIT, and LE SSERAFIM being hurt by this dispute: “Everyone got hurt, including NewJeans,” Min says. “Not pinpointing specific person. But as I said before, I am a person, too. One of my employees told me that [the public] is firing at me like I’m not a person anymore. But I am, and the members are, too. I don’t want to say anything to a specific person. But if everybody wants to not hurt everyone, they just have to stay silent. But they keep pushing at it and bringing everyone up. That’s how people get hurt. If people want to consider others, don’t mention them.” Min goes on, “That’s why we need to settle this matter, to wash off the blood. We need to talk about the solutions.”
  • Asked specifically whether she thinks ILLIT plagiarized still, she says she wouldn’t change her mind and that if there are issues in the future she would bring them up, but that she doesn’t want to talk about it since they will be uncomfortable.

On The Reports Of Meeting Investors

  • MHJ talks again about the Dunamu and Naver meetings, saying they were private and she felt setup by the attacks.
  • MHJ makes the point clear that she’s a manager who is good at management, not at recruiting investment and all that stuff.

On HYBE’s Advanced Buying Tactics

  • MHJ sorta walks this back as serious, saying it’s true HYBE suggested it but it was done casually, and she can’t confirm if it’s widespread in the industry. The point in mentioning that was if they took her casual jokes with colleagues seriously, then their casual chats should be put on the same level.

On Future Plans

  • MHJ says they are preparing for NewJeans’ Tokyo Dome concert and then a world tour in 2025.
  • She laments that the plans were thrown into question about the ongoing battle, saying that now that HYBE is listening to her, she wants to amicably settle things so they can continue on, as she’s tired of the picking fights and blaming.
  • The ADOR board can be called on June 10, so she wanted to say what she needed to at the press conference.

Random

  • An MBTI-themed rant: “I am MBTI P [prospecting], but as I live life and work for the company, I am becoming J [judging]. I am, like, a total P with just 1 percent J,” she says, implying that she does not like to plan in advance.
  • Min undergoes back-and-forth with a reporter who requests that she answer concisely. “This is a really important issue for me,” she stresses. “But everybody’s quite busy at the moment and came here in a hurry; we hope you can take more questions from us,” the reporter says. “You shouldn’t be mad at me for this,” Min says. “But we want to ask you many more questions,” the reporter counters. Min: “But this is really important for me to explain.” Reporter: “I’m saying this because this is important as well.” Min says she will try to be concise moving forward. 
  • “So that’s how I fit in this work. Because I am flexible and agile. It’s so fun to work with fans. It’s a very fast cycle. But why did I talk about money? Oh, so … when you are over 40, moms forget names, and I am like that now. And I also have ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder]. I am sorry. So I don’t know how things will go with HYBE. But I am tired. Exhausted. And about the money, viral and reverse-viral, how to do it? I am so tired just delivering the news to reporters. I don’t want this situation to go on any longer.”

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Okay, so basically HYBE has done what was speculated by replacing her board at ADOR and isolating her. However, it doesn’t seem like MHJ’s side will mount a legal challenge to that, instead they mostly talk about reconciliation with HYBE and she uses her time to appeal to HYBE shareholders. Essentially, she is telling them and the public that she can make them money and she’s valuable, so just let her do her own thing with just reworking the noncompete clause.

So Min Hee Jin is publicly offering an olive branch and giving HYBE an out (and giving herself one, most importantly). She likely sees the writing on the wall for her power at ADOR, as HYBE could effectively sideline her or try to fire her again if they wanted. So she’s refocused the conversation on her ability to generate profits and making an appeal to the public with her competence.

The important thing here is that it basically puts HYBE in a no-win situation. It’s unlikely they can settle with her after she only recently declared war on them and other subsidiaries, including at least their other two main girl groups, if not BTS itself. But if they don’t, then they’re going to take even more public backlash, because it’ll reinforce to the public (and maybe more importantly, shareholders) that they are prioritizing a personal beef with her over supposedly making the right call business-wise. So they could, and maybe will, simply take the hit and risk pissing off investors temporarily.

Of course, she’d also potentially lose if they did that since she’d be left relatively powerless without further legal action, and she’d still have criminal complaints to deal with. But at least from a PR perspective, she comes out golden either way, and if she can win in court she also walks away with a ton of money from HYBE. Do I believe she’s changed? Hell no, those exchanges on her relationship with NewJeans and their families comes off more deranged than ever, but it doesn’t really matter unless HYBE can get some wins in court.

It’s … uh, again just well done. I’m not saying you have to like her, but if you weren’t primed against her before this saga, it’s not exactly difficult to see how she’s won people over with her strategy. She knows what she’s doing and HYBE is getting outflanked right now from a PR perspective. Not exactly sure how they turn this without legal victories, so I hope they have more they haven’t revealed or a different strategy for the criminal cases.

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Anyway, I’ll continue to add stuff as I find them, and feel free to let me know about anything important and/or funny that I missed.