What is going on in the HYBE building right now? The company that began with K-pop supergroup BTS is having an internal power struggle, as HYBE initiated an audit into the management of its subsidiary label, ADOR CEO Min Hee-jin — the woman behind popular girl group NewJeans. So, what does this mean for the company and for the future of NewJeans? Keep reading for a full explainer into the messy lawsuit.

Why Did HYBE Audit ADOR?

In 2021, ADOR was founded as a wholly owned subsidiary of HYBE, where they created their first and only group is NewJeans the following year — which is currently one of the most popular bands in K-pop.

After receiving an anonymous tip that ADOR was planning to seek independence from HYBE, the company sent an an audit questionnaire to Min Hee-jin, the CEO of ADOR, along with another executive, known only as “Mr. A,” on April 22.

The questionnaire reportedly aimed to gain “clarification on allegations of attempted management rights seizure, the leaking of trade secrets, and irregular personnel solicitations by the ADOR management,” according to AllKpop.

Additionally, it’s being reported that personal details about HYBE’s artists, including photos and health information of trainees before their debut, were leaked.

ADOR CEO Slams HYBE Group ILLIT as a ‘NewJeans Copycat’

Following the audit, ADOR articulated its own statement in response, titled “ADOR’s Official Position on the ILLIT NewJeans Copy Incident.”

ADOR claimed, “While HYBE operates a multi-label system to pursue cultural diversity, one of its labels, ADOR, and its affiliated artist, NewJeans, ironically suffer the most serious infringement by HYBE.”

The subsidiary claims that HYBE’s group ILLIT, a five-member girl group that debuted in March, is a “copycat” do their own group, NewJeans.

ILLIT is under another subsidiary label of HYBE’s, called BELIFT LAB, which saw HYBE’s Chairman, Bang Si-Hyuk, oversee the production of their debut album.

Hyein, Hanni, Minji, Haerin and Danielle of girl group NewJeans are seen at the ‘Hyundai Department Store Duty Free’ 5th Anniversary photocall at The Hyundai Seoul. Photo by Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

Hee-jin claimed that HYBE ordered her removal from the company and the audit after she brought over the “copycat” issue to her parent company.

Before becoming CEO of ADOR, Hee-jin joined HYBE as its chief brand officer. Prior to that, she served as the creative director at SM Entertainment, where she worked with groups such as Red Velvet, f(x), SHINee and more.

What Does This Mean For NewJeans?

According to HYBE CEO Park Ji Won, NewJeans is currently working on their upcoming comeback set for later in the year — but it’s unclear what this means for the future of the group until more information is known.

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