ADOR CEO Min Hee Jin press conference reactions + HYBE releases detailed rebuttal

Following Min Hee Jin‘s emotional and explosive press conference, the HYBE/ADOR war got a little more evened out. While international netizens mostly seemed unimpressed, it actually turned things in her favor with Korean netizens on social media and on portals due to the overall sentiment behind the rambling, the authentic passion displayed, and, last but certainly not least, the memes.

So basically, what’s resonating over there is that she was effective at framing herself as a creative mind who just wants to do her thing. That this was a case of a worker being sabotaged by her boss, and so yes, she complained about it privately like any of us lash out at their boss. However, they’re retaliating now, and she’s the underdog being media-played to death by a giant corporation, especially as a woman in a company/industry full of men.

That sorta captures the reason behind the reaction, in my opinion.

Or in a more shitposting way, here’s two Asian Junkie writers:

Of course, it’s rather wild to use a CEO and multi-multi-millionaire as the face of this underdog feeling, but people seem desperate to take anything at this point.

Netizens even made a diss track featuring Min Hee Jin’s lines.

Like I said, the only good use of AI in the arts is for shitposting.

But it wasn’t only netizens either, SM Entertainment choreographer Kasper posted that he was cheering her on, former YG Entertainment creative director Shin Sung Jin commented “how cathartic” about it, and particularly interestingly was DOOBU, ENHYPEN‘s former performance director, also referencing it.

Meanwhile, when ILLIT creative director Heo Se Ryun posted a giant middle finger on her story, seemingly in response to the press conference, she got criticized for it.

Me? As somebody who is cynical by default about companies and executives, I’m just hoping the artists come out of this unscathed and I’m thoroughly enjoying this amazingly entertaining corporate drama.


Meanwhile, in response to all this happening, HYBE was dismissive of it altogether in their initial statement, downplaying it not worth their time.

“Of what was claimed by CEO Min Hee Jin at the press conference today, there is so much that is far from the truth to the point that it is difficult to go through them one by one.
CEO Min distorted the facts by mixing up the timeline and presented her characteristic distorted way of interpretation in a public setting.
We can refute all claims with evidence, but we have decided not to mention them one by one as we judge that they are not worth responding to.
However, we will diligently comment about the facts that must be clearly stated in business terms among the inquiries from media.
We respectfully request CEO Min to stop lying that, ‘there was no offer for dialogue,’ and that, ‘there was no email response,’ return the information assets as requested, and respond promptly to the audit. We urge her to resign promptly for the proper management of ADOR as she has already proven herself unfit to be in charge of management.
Also, please stop continuously mentioning artists and their parents as it degrades the value of the artists.”

Due to the reasons explained above, that was an obvious misread of public sentiment, as it was their feet that ended up being held to the fire by the public after the press conference. Quite frankly, HYBE seemed to walk right into her ploy and do exactly the wrong thing. This dismissive and corporate response only served to validate Min Hee Jin’s positions in the minds of some.

Well, apparently they realized this, as just a day later they have reversed course and released an itemized response to the presser.

It’s a long one, which you can read in full if you want, but I’ll try to summarize it a bit here (since you have lives, or pretend to at least).

Disputing That The ADOR Takeover Plans Were Said Jokingly Or Casually

HYBE says that these discussions happened over the course of several months and that casual talk is no longer such when it’s done repeatedly and involves third parties. They then restate much of what they said earlier, adding that Min Hee Jin specifically instructs the executive to write, “This will have to be noted as being casual conversation.

Disputing Min Hee Jin Not Being Monetarily Compensated

HYBE says her claimed two billion won salary was only her 2023 performance incentive, and that her actual salary and long-term incentives are separate. She also has stock compensation that’s separate, her salary is the highest among individuals at HYBE’s headquarters and Korean subsidiaries, and state what she requested in negotiations was unreasonable (perhaps purposefully as a part of her escape plan).

Clarifying That Min Hee Jin’s Complaint Was Responded To Before The Audit Began

In the press conference, Min Hee Jin claimed that HYBE’s response to her complaint about the ILLIT plagiarism was to raid and audit ADOR. However, as HYBE said before, they explain they sent a six-page long response on April 22 at 10:01 AM and that they got a read confirmation on it around noon on April 22. It was after that the audit took place.

Disputing Min Hee Jin’s Claim About Not Knowing Of The Computer Seizure Request

HYBE explains that Min Hee Jin claiming she only found out about having to return “information assets” through the media was a lie because they visited her residence and studio at April 22 at 10 AM and tried to contact the CEO through all available avenues to no avail. After the deadline, on April 23 at 6 PM, they requested again through an ADOR exec but were told she was too busy. They also say that the claim HYBE were trying to take her computer so she couldn’t work on NewJeans‘ comeback is another lie, explaining that after they take the laptop, they give out a new one and allow all the data to be transferred.

Explaining That NewJeans Wasn’t HYBE’s First Girl Group Due To Min Hee Jin’s Own Requests

HYBE included their response to Min Hee Jin’s internal complaint here, saying that NewJeans’ inability to debut as HYBE’s first girl group has nothing to do with broken promises, but rather was about her insistence that she get a separate label, her picked members despite Source Music‘s protests, and funds for her group’s debut (~$12 million). That led to an inevitable delay as division of company and transfer of contracts had to be executed. They then quote her own words from March 22, 2022, in which she said in an interview, “A rushed debut can only be a big burden on young members. I don’t want to make everyone feel rushed, so I set the third quarter of 2022 as the launch time.

Disputing That She Was Told Not To Promote NewJeans’ Debut

HYBE’s rationale for the LE SSERAFIM debut ahead of NewJeans’ and the shortened promotional period are sort of confusing, so it’s best if I just quote this part in full.

“Due to the R&R (roles and responsibilities) dispute between SOURCE MUSIC and CEO Min, NewJeans’s debut schedule got delayed, and SOURCE MUSIC’s LE SSERAFIM debuted first. As there was not adequate time for the two groups’ promotions because their debut schedules followed one after the other right away, it was decided that minimum promotional periods would be set. In addition, in the case of LE SSERAFIM member Sakura, articles about her ‘transferring to HYBE’ had been pouring out even before she signed a contract with HYBE. Amid this situation, if we promoted ADOR’s debut group as ‘a team composed only of rookies,’ there were concerns that the fact that Sakura joined SOURCE MUSIC as well as the information on the composition of NewJeans members would be exposed. We made this request in order to protect the news value of both teams, and even then, we shortened the period in the middle and started promoting NewJeans early.”

They also point out that the aforementioned interview took place two months before LE SSERAFIM’s debut, so they say Min Hee Jin had plenty of time to promote.

Disputing That HYBE Neglected Promoting NewJeans

HYBE again cite their answer to the complaint, saying they have sent 273 press releases for NewJeans in 2023, compared to 659 for Big Hit Music with eight artists (BTS plus all the individual members) and 365 for Pledis Entertainment with four artists.

Disputing The Existence Of A Slave Contract For Min Hee Jin

HYBE says the shareholder agreement is confidential, but explain that it’s basically a standard non-compete. They say Min Hee Jin is able to sell stocks in November of this year, and if she does, the non-compete would expire in November of 2026 when her contract would’ve ended. They cite her own words from the press conference that she can make 100 billion won if she wants, and that privately it was acknowledged among ADOR executives that she can exercise her put options on January 2, 2025.

HYBE admits there was confusion about the clauses regarding selling stocks, but describes them as “difference in interpretation of the priority order of the two clauses” and says they already told her last December that they could modify any ambiguity in interpretation. They reinforce that this all started over money.

Regarding Min Hee Jin Mocking HYBE’s Environmental Initiatives

HYBE basically just say they work hard at it and it was mean to say.

Disputing Min Hee Jin’s Claim There Was No Attempt At Conversation

HYBE says they were in constant discussion about the shareholder agreement until her complaint was filed. They say even though they responded seriously to that, the audit revealed Min Hee Jin secretly took HYBE lawyers and accountants for consulting on changing the shareholder agreement, as well as doing all the aforementioned takeover planning stuff.

Disputing That The Shaman Was Simply A Friend

HYBE says talking with a shaman wasn’t the problem, rather it was them being involved in management decisions and receiving internal company information (as described here), as well as knowing about executive stock option amounts and being involved in the takeover discussions.

Disputing That This Emerging Before NewJeans’ Comeback Was On Purpose

HYBE claims the timing of this is due to Min Hee Jin’s side, as the public battle was initiated by her complaint around NewJeans’ comeback. They cite (previously covered) instructions from Min Hee Jin for ADOR executives to prepare for public opinion battles and to create mess for HYBE, and they wonder if the point of it was to pressure the company into accepting her unreasonable compensation. HYBE is essentially accusing her of being the one that’s using NewJeans as leverage.


Some of those rebuttals from HYBE have serious weight depending on whether the evidence they claim to have is as concrete as they say. And really, I would never ever be surprised if some kind of corporate war between executives came down to money. In fact, that’s probably correctly applying Occam’s razor with regards to the motives behind all this. That said, there are points of rebuttal that are basically HYBE lawyering their way through admitting there were legitimate issues while using technicalities to claim she was lying or wrong.

Either way, should be interesting to see what happens now, as the main PR war might be over before things start to get more into put up or shut up legal territory.


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