From Sajaegi to chart manipulation: Exploring accusations made against HYBE during its ongoing court dispute with Min Hee-jin

Exploring accusations made against HYBE during its ongoing court dispute with Min Hee-jin. (Image via HYBE website)
Exploring accusations made against HYBE during its ongoing court dispute with Min Hee-jin (Image via HYBE website)

HYBE Corporation and ADOR CEO Min Hee-jin's ongoing feud for over a month has been full of allegations from both parties. HYBE, the parent company of ADOR, has accused Min Hee-jin of an alleged attempt to take over the affiliate, illegal trading of business secrets, reportedly meeting Dunamu, conspiring with a foreign investor in dropping the parent firm's share market value, manipulating parents of NewJeans members, and more.

Similarly, Min Hee-jin accused the parent company of chart manipulation, association with Dahn World, inflating album sales (sajaegi), and discrimination towards NewJeans, among others. In the ongoing feud, netizens have been left perplexed by both parties throwing numerous accusations.

Furthermore, a netizen had filed for an investigation into BTS chart rankings from 2019, which was irrelevant to the HYBE and ADOR feud. It is important to note that none of the allegations raised by Min Hee-jin against Bang Si-hyuk's company has been proven by her thus far. However, the parent company had submitted various evidence against Min Hee-jin in court about her alleged offenses.

Min Hee-jin's accusations against HYBE Corporation as the court battle continues

1) Chart Manipulation (Sajaegi)

During the ongoing battle, a netizen had filed a petition in May 2024 to the Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Tourism to investigate BTS' chart rankings in 2019 when the group won its first American Music Award. The controversy stemmed from when Mr. A was sentenced to one year in jail, in 2017, for using threats against music labels to reveal their chart manipulation to the media and other alleged unlawful marketing activities unless he received money in exchange. This led to a string of extortions totaling 57 million won ($41,788) over eight occasions.

The term "sajaegi" describes bulk album purchases or bulk internet streaming illegally. This is often accomplished by streaming via unofficial websites and services. Companies have two options when it comes to bulk purchases: they may do this covertly themselves or through a merchant.

2) Dahn World and "cult" association

According to Koreaboo, HYBE was accused of being connected to the purported Dahn World cult. The company, however, responded and denied any affiliation with the music corporation and dismissed the accusations in an official statement.

Meanwhile, the licensed yoga and wellness firm, Dahn World, took to official social media on May 2, 2024, to voice their opinions. They addressed the issue and denied having anything to do with HYBE in a statement. However, the allegations further smeared the image of BTS and LE SSERAFIM as both the K-pop idol groups are represented by Bang Si-hyuk's company.

3) Album pushing

Min Hee-jin accused Bang Si-hyuk, Chairman and founder of HYBE Corporation, of chart manipulation. Allegedly, the chairman suggested that she inflate NewJeans' album sales by 100,000 to beat SM Entertainment's girl group Aespa's album ranking.

Furthermore, HYBE faced accusations of record pushing in an attempt to get their musicians' albums to chart. The term "album push" aka advance buying, refers to moving an album up the charts rather than to its marketing or promotion. This was the word used by Min Hee-jin and the ADOR executive in their Kakaotalk chat, to use it as an alleged new technique that HYBE was purportedly adopting to help push numbers up the charts.

4) Discrimination and mistreatment towards NewJeans

Min Hee-jin accused the parent company of discriminating against NewJeans and mistreating the band members and her. According to Koreaboo, a parent of NewJeans' member mentioned that Chairman Bang Si-hyuk allegedly ignored the girl group's greetings in an elevator. Furthermore, Min Hee-jin had claimed that HYBE discriminated against the group by debuting LE SSERAFIM before NewJeans.

LE SSERAFIM is another girl group from Source Music, another label that operates under HYBE's multi-label structure. The group debuted in May 2022 while NewJeans debuted in November 2022.

Meanwhile, Bang Si-hyuk, along with the Chief Music Producer of Pledis Entertainment and Source Music, Creative Directors of BTS and LE SSERAFIM, the Chief Performance Director of BTS, Music Producer of TXT, and the senior producer of BIGHIT MUSIC have all filed a petition against Min Hee-jin for inconveniencing the company culture and creating a stressful environment for the company and its employees with the ongoing lawsuit.

The ongoing lawsuit between both parties had its first court hearing on May 17, 2024, and the final verdict is yet to be announced.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now