Belift Lab’s Rebuttal to Min Hee Jin’s Claims of ILLIT Copying NewJeans Met with Strong Public Disapproval

belift lab newjeans
belift lab newjeans
Credit: Belift Lab

HYBE’s label Belift Lab has faced a significant backlash after releasing a video defending its group ILLIT against accusations of copying NewJeans. The 27-minute video features Belift Lab CEO Kim Tae Ho, Vice President Choi Yoon Hyuk, and ILLIT’s performance director, all denying any similarities between ILLIT and NewJeans.

CEO Kim Tae Ho sharply criticized Min Hee Jin, the CEO of ADOR, stating, “It’s shocking that someone who has worked in the industry for so long can make such baseless claims for personal gain.” The video also included a detailed comparison of the choreography and concepts of ILLIT and NewJeans, aiming to refute the allegations.

However, the video has been met with intense criticism from the public. Belift Lab incorrectly claimed that the choreography of NewJeans’ “Ditto” was similar to that of the previously-released NMIXX’s “Love Me Like This.” However, in fact, “Ditto” was released in January last year, while NMIXX’s album was released in March of the same year. This factual error, along with the mention of another agency’s idol group, upset the fans.

One netizen commented, “The most infuriating part of this video is that it twists the narrative to suggest that Min Hee Jin claimed ‘everything is hers’ when it was the public and ADOR who first raised the similarity issue.” Many other netizens echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that the public noticed the similarities between ILLIT and NewJeans, not just Min Hee Jin.

>> Min Hee Jin Seeks Middle Ground with HYBE in Her Second Press Conference

Belift Lab further drew criticism for using photos from an online community (DC Inside Gallery) to address the similarities between NewJeans and ILLIT, which many saw as inappropriate.

Moreover, Director Heo Se Ryeon boasted about ILLIT’s stage costumes, saying, “In the fashion industry, they have dubbed it ‘ILLITcore,’ reinterpreted in our unique style.” However, a self-identified fashion industry professional responded, “Which part of the fashion industry is calling it ‘ILLITcore’? In my years in the industry, I’ve never heard this term.”

Additionally, about Belift Lab’s claim that NewJeans copied Blackpink’s school uniform concept, a Blackpink director personally stepped up with the comment, “They are entirely different.”

Critics were also unimpressed. Music critic Kim Do Heon called the Belift Lab video “the worst,” while critic Jung Min Jae stated, “This video was a fatal mistake. It’s a video that should never have been made if they considered the artists and fans.” An unnamed producer remarked, “I was utterly shocked. It’s inconceivable in the entertainment industry, where image is crucial, to upload a video that fuels internal fandom conflicts.”

The response video has been widely criticized for its lack of professionalism and understanding of public perception, with some mocking it as a “Min Hee Jin portfolio promotion video.”

Meanwhile, Belift Lab announced additional legal action against Min Hee Jin, stating, “Despite achieving an incredible debut in K-pop history, our artists and Belift Lab members have endured the burden of plagiarism accusations. We will file a civil lawsuit today to hold Min Hee Jin accountable for the damages.”

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