Credit: ADOR

K-pop giant HYBE has sparked controversy by launching an official audit of its subsidiary label ADOR. ADOR, the company behind the popular girl group NewJeans, isn’t taking the move lying down. They’re pointing the finger right back at HYBE, alleging the audit is retaliation for questioning the striking similarities between NewJeans and ILLIT.

ILLIT, a new girl group under HYBE’s BELIFT LAB, sparked controversy with their debut teasers in March. Fans were quick to point out a near-identical aesthetic to NewJeans. ADOR is adamant these similarities are no coincidence.


“After ILLIT’s teasers dropped, the internet blew up with comparisons to NewJeans. From hairstyles and makeup to outfits, choreography, and even the overall feel of their photos, videos, and performances, ILLIT is copying NewJeans in all aspects of its entertainment activities,” ADOR stated. “Online, fans are calling them ‘NewJeans’ copycats,’ ‘Min Hee Jin wannabes,’ and saying they embody the “Min Hee Jin style.”

ADOR’s statement went further, accusing HYBE Chairman Bang Si Hyuk of directly overseeing the production of ILLIT’s debut album. They alleged that ILLIT’s copying of NewJeans is not solely the work of BELIFT LAB but rather a coordinated effort by HYBE. They criticized HYBE for being “blinded by short-term profits” and “mass-producing unoriginality” by “copying successful cultural content without hesitation.”

ADOR also addressed concerns that NewJeans’ unique image might lose its impact before their May comeback due to ILLIT’s debut, given the similarities between the two groups. They clarified that ADOR and NewJeans had no involvement in or approved of these similarities. They emphasized that the multi-label system was designed to allow each label to pursue its own unique musical direction, not to enable one label to copy the cultural achievements of another.

ADOR also made it clear that they will not tolerate any association between NewJeans and ILLIT.

ADOR claimed that they had officially raised their concerns regarding this matter but received no concrete response and were abruptly informed that HYBE would be suspending and terminating Min Hee Jin, the CEO of ADOR.

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Regarding the action, they questioned HYBE’s logic, asking, “How could a legitimate protest to protect the cultural achievements of our artist, NewJeans, be construed as harming ADOR’s interests or an attempt to seize control of ADOR’s management? It’s simply incomprehensible on any rational level.”

ADOR further criticized HYBE’s apparent lack of willingness to address the issue, stating, “HYBE, BELIFT LAB and Chairman Bang Si Hyuk seem to believe that simply removing Min Hee Jin from the company will resolve this situation without issuing a proper apology or taking any corrective measures.” They expressed their hope that this public statement will prompt HYBE and BELIFT LAB to acknowledge their wrongdoing and commit to respecting the cultural achievements of others, engaging in thoughtful creation and contributing to the growth of the Korean music industry and culture.

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