“I’ve hacked and obtained documents regarding the illegal marketing you’ve done for your artists."
BTS‘ label Big Hit Entertainment has been blackmailed for “illegal marketing”.
Digital Music News reports that the Kpop label was blackmailed by a CEO of a contracting firm who threatened to publicly reveal its “illegal marketing”.
“I’ve hacked and obtained documents regarding the illegal marketing you’ve done for your artists. If you don’t send 330 million Won (~$291,000 USD), I’ll release the documents to media and distribute it through messaging,” the CEO known as Lee wrote.
Initial reports stated that Big Hit entertainment had paid off the CEO. In an official statement, BTS’ label denied any wrongdoing and rejected claims that the blackmailer was paid off. However, an employee of the label had transferred money to Lee “to protect artists”, according to Digital Music News.
“The money transferred to Lee was the result of a personal attempt by a Big Hit employee who was initially threatened to protect our artists’ images. The agency itself never gave money to the blackmailer,” Big Hit Entertainment said in a statement.
The record label added that Lee had worked with the label in the past.
“Lee was tasked with advertising and handling marketing for albums two years ago, and it ended as a one-time project. Afterwards, Lee claimed that he found inappropriate marketing documents and made threats of blackmail against us,” the statement read.
Lee was sentenced to one year in prison for blackmailing the label, which the judge described as a “severe offense”. The judge added that Lee “took advantage of a client’s secret”.
Big Hit Entertainment said that Lee was reported to the police when the CEO attempted to blackmail them.
“After becoming aware of the situation, Big Hit immediately reported Lee to the police… after he was detained, he was sentenced to one year in prison for charges of threats, blackmail, and fraud. Big Hit and agency artists are victims of blackmail threats.”
“Big Hit is a transparent company that has legitimate dealings with external companies. All contracts and sourcing are managed according to accounting standards.”
The agency has also issued an apology to BTS members and fans.
“We’re very sorry to the BTS members and ARMY for the alarm that was caused with this issue. We will do everything we can and carefully manage our business partners and contractors to prevent something like this from ever happening again.”
BTS recently released a highlight reel for their upcoming Love Yourself series. Fans of the group were also disgruntled after the group were not fully acknowledged by the Teen Choice Awards, despite winning an award.