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HYBE discredits religious cult and chart manipulation rumors

HYBE’s feud with ADOR and Min Hee-jin, and their artists’ vocals aren’t the only things keeping them on the news headlines at this point.

Since their response to Min Hee-jin’s press conference last April 25, 2024, HYBE has been facing a multitude of rumors of serious matters, including but not limited to chart manipulation, plagiarism of concepts, and cult association.

Photo Credit: Yonhap News
Photo Credit: Yonhap News

The allegations started spreading on social media on April 28, 2024, with old allegations of illegal chart manipulation, or ‘sajaegi’ surrounding BTS resurfacing. The ‘sajaegi’ allegations first began in 2015, with BTS’ release of their mini album ‘The Most Beautiful Moment in Life’.

Documents from a court case in 2017 started circulating, where it was seen that a certain “Mr. A” was threatening to expose BTS for allegedly using illegal marketing tactics. “Mr. A” was also involved in the chart manipulation and was sentenced to one year in prison.

In 2018, another individual who claimed to be “Mr. A” posted on an online forum stating that he had claimed to be involved in ‘sajaegi’ in the place of BTS, while also claiming that he was not paid for this and was imprisoned after he tried pressuring HYBE.

Another set of claims was raised by a former model and editor of ZUZN, a South Korean erotic magazine. The editor accused HYBE director Bang Si-hyuk of plagiarizing the magazine’s “wet” and “soft, but romantic” concept look that ZUZN was leading at the time for BTS’ ‘The Most Beautiful Moment in Life’ album.

In a series of tweets (or posts) made in March 2022, the editor detailed how “a CEO of a company managing one of the most popular idol groups” had approached them for advice for a “sexy and appealing” direction for their group. The editor, at the time, also agreed that the boy group was “on the wrong track” and tried to help as much as possible.

The CEO later on used the concept and ideas that he and the editor had talked about for the boy group’s next album, which proved to be the boy group’s first massive hit. The members were photographed and styled in the “wet” and “soft, but romantic” look that ZUZN magazine was also employing.

The editor, in return, said that they were only compensated with just a meal.

The same editor also tried applying to the company as part of the art direction team but was not contacted after.

The last set of allegations—possibly the most serious one, was that HYBE is in association with an infamous religious cult named Dahn World.

Dahn World is a meditation company that has been recognized as a “pseudo-religious” cult by major Christian organizations in South Korea for promoting unconventional and unorthodox beliefs and teachings. One of these teachings is said to be the use of the power of “life electrons” through prayer and meditation.

HYBE artists such as BTS, LE SSERAFIM, and former Source Music girl group GFriend were some of the names mentioned in the fan theories surrounding HYBE’s association with Dahn World.

One particular tidbit about Dahn World is that the organization also founded the Global Cyber University—the university which 6 members of BTS had attended in the past.

Another idea promoted by Dahn World is that man and God are one and the same, and that followers of this religion worship a goddess named Mago, who is said to be the goddess of the universe.

Though it may seem like a stretch, Mago is also the title of GFriend’s last single before they disbanded in May 2021. The track and album employed a ‘modern witch concept’ and the album’s title was ‘回:Walpurgis Night’ which also refers to a Christian German tradition where fire rituals are employed to ward off witches and evil spirits.

The fan who suggested the theory said that the Walpurgis Night being held on the evening of April 30 till May 1 can also be a reason for GFriend’s disbandment and LE SSERAFIM’s debut in May, or so they say.

Another probably far-fetched theory is how LE SSERAFIM’s concept for their comeback ‘UNFORGIVEN’ had some fire-related imagery which could be led back to the fire burning of the Walpurgis Night. One image in particular sees member Kazuha with angel wings, with her hands holding a glowing orb—much like the goddess Mago.

One last rumor involves NewJeans and Min Hee-jin, and that the latter wanted to leave HYBE because she didn’t want to be associated with the cult. One said instance says that Min Hee-jin had created NewJeans’ communication app ‘Phoning’ because the Weverse app somewhat shares a name with ‘WeaversMind’, an educational company that is also said to have connections with Dahn World.

In response to all rumors being thrown against them and their artists, BIGHIT MUSIC, through HYBE on WeVerse, denied all allegations, and promised a strong legal action against malicious posters.

Days later, Dahn World also came forward to deny the allegations stating that they had any ties with HYBE and that they were a cult. The organization posted a video on their website on May 2, 2024, where they described themselves as a “meditation company that teaches the mental and physical training methods of an original Korean style.” DahnWorld also said that this was to “aid in the recovery of health and improve quality of life.”

Dahn World also commented on how their company’s relationship with BTS was “irrelevant,” and that they had only been brought up following the feud between HYBE and Min Hee-jin. Dahn World also hoped that the BTS members who were graduates of the Global Cyber University would not be affected by the rumors, and said that they would take “strong legal measures” against “fake news” that would defame them.


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