The Korea Herald


'NewJeans is the biggest victim in Hybe-Ador feud,' music critic

By Kim Jae-heun

Published : May 20, 2024 - 17:02

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NewJeans (Ador) NewJeans (Ador)

NewJeans, the popular K-pop girl band of Hybe’s music subsidiary Ador, is turning out to be the biggest victim in the ongoing feud between Hybe and Ador CEO Min Hee-jin, sparked by Min's alleged breach of trust, an industry source said Monday.

It was all about NewJeans from the start, when Min sent an email to the executives of Hybe on April 3 arguing that new girl group Illit, which debuted under Belift Lab, another Hybe subsidiary, had plagiarized NewJeans’ style and concept.

Hybe denied the Ador CEO’s claim and accused her of attempting to take over management rights at Ador. The K-pop behemoth claims that Min had requested the right of termination for the artist's exclusive contract with Ador in a meeting with Hybe CEO Park Ji-won in January.

When Min held a teary press conference on April 25 to refute Hybe’s allegations against her, she argued that Hybe has been treating NewJeans poorly despite the group's successful debut and performance in and outside the country. She even involved the NewJeans members' parents by stating their support for her.

As the dispute grows revolving around the girl band, it is damaging NewJeans, which is currently promoting its new EP “How Sweet" by appearing on entertainment shows with a comeback date fixed for Friday.

“This is a fight between the executives of Hybe and Ador, but it is affecting NewJeans the most. Even the members of NewJeans seem to be suffering from stress. They are the biggest victim of this dispute,” music critic Kim Do-heon said Monday.

The stress will not end for the girl band even after the fate of Min is decided on May 31, when the extraordinary shareholders’ meeting is to be held to vote on dismissing Min from the Ador CEO position.

While Hybe CEO Park pledged full support for NewJeans, he said it would take a minimum of a year and a half to bring on an esteemed US music producer and that the girl band would be on a long break during that time.

“NewJeans is all about Min. She has created the girl band’s concept and image as well as participating in the music production. If Hybe, all of a sudden, changes the group's style with a new producer, it will only lessen their uniqueness and musical color that the fans love,” music critic Lim Hee-yun said Monday.

Meanwhile, Hybe released a statement Sunday, asking Min to stop using the names of Ador or its artist to defend her actions.