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Furious BTS Army demand K-media to apologise for claims of who ‘built up’ HYBE

BTS fans are seething with rage over claims made in MBC TV’s South Korean variety show Hangout With Yoo, implicating that HYBE was “built up” by Seventeen instead of BTS.

BTS and Seventeen.
BTS and Seventeen.

On April 20 (KST), a teaser for the next Hangout With Yoo episode featuring Seventeen’s sub-unit BSS as guest stars was released. Host Yoo Jae Suk and other main cast members visited the multi-label entertainment company HYBE to facilitate this meeting. The clip particularly portrays the grandeur of one of the agency’s buildings. As the teaser takes the viewers on a tour inside, a caption appears: “The HYBE headquarters built up by Seventeen.”

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Although the teaser, with the Seventeen sub-unit as its main characters of the event, presumably didn’t intend any harm, the BTS ARMY is vehemently voicing its disappointment with K-media “spitting on BTS’ legacy.”

Taking a better and complete look at the video proves the point as MBC visibly acknowledges BTS’ acclaim, foregrounding the septet’s efforts in establishing the company’s foundation. The previously mentioned statement merely sought to demonstrate how Seventeen’s addition to the HYBE team had significantly resulted in a further upward-growing graph for the agency.

BTS ARMY reacts to the “erasure” of BTS’ legacy by South Korean media

Nevertheless, BTS fans resorted to barrage MBC with heavy backlash as they perceived it as a “distortion of history.” Several fans went on to underscore the supposed “erasure” of the group’s legacy, reminding the South Korean broadcasting network of the old days when HYBE wasn’t a multi-hyphenate company and functioned as Bighit Entertainment, with BTS as the sole footing that pulled the label to a new direction of success after being on the verge of bankruptcy.

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Some fans even recalled HYBE Corporation chairperson Bang Si Hyuk’s message, “We were able to reach this far thanks to @BTS_twt. They were our starting point and the driving force throughout the way.”

A tweet on X/Twitter read: “Without the hard work & contribution of BTS, HYBE would have NEVER existed. HYBE was built by BTS alone to the giant conglomerate that they are today. DO NOT ERASE HISTORY. RESPECT & APOLOGISE TO BTS.”

The entire rhetoric soon bubbled into a BTS vs Seventeen discourse, vehemently breaking out into a war between fandoms. While BTS fans pushed for trending tags like “BTS Paved the Way,” Seventeen fans (CARATs) also refreshed the internet’s memory, highlighting the group’s contribution to the once small and privately functioning company Pledis. Now deemed a K-pop giant, HYBE Corporation acquired a majority stake in Pledis in 2020. Thereafter, the latter shifted its operations to HYBE’s new headquarters in Yongsan Trade Center in 2021.

The backlash has seemingly blown out of the water as some fans who missed the original video only considered the footage pulled out of context. As the online debate continued to brew at the time of writing, some fans who equally adore both groups felt stuck in the middle.

Many rose in Seventeen’s defence with tweets like “Please stop dragging Seventeen over something they did not even say. They’ve been doing so well for years even before the acquisition.”

Another tweet read: “You guys are so loooowww for making it as if svt’s the one who put that subs. stop barking at the wrong tree.”

A third X user wrote: “js a little opinion. bts SAVED bighit and MADE hybe. svt SAVED pledis and made it so profitable that hybe WANTED to acquire them… either way, rn, both are contributing to the success of hybe but lets not twist the words pls☺.”

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However, as trending phrases “BTS made HYBE,” “BTS built HYBE,” and “HYBE is nothing without BTS” took precedence on the platform, the majority of messages tilted towards tweets like “i can’t believe someone is that delusional to believe that someone else other than bts built and created hybe.”

BigHit Entertainment’s evolution into HYBE Corporation in 2021 birthed an expansive multi-label regime encompassing BigHit Music, Belift Lab, Source Music, Pledis Entertainment, ADOR, KOZ Entertainment and more. However, even before embarking on its grand trendsetting adventure, the company already harboured artists, including BTS, Tomorrow X Together and Lee Hyun, whose involvements ultimately garnered enough traction and profits for BigHit to progressively mature into its HYBE chapters.

HYBE groups revenue contribution

In a press release revealed earlier in February, HYBE announced that it had set its pioneering precedence as the first entertainment company in South Korea to bring in over KRW 2 trillion of annual revenue in 2023.

The record-high annual revenue was credited to the company’s multi-label system that set an example for growth in album sales and concert businesses. Despite BTS’ (BigHit Music) ongoing extended hiatus due to the members’ military obligations, their solo albums maintained their media presence with sales of 8.7 million copies globally. On the other hand, Seventeen (Pledis) led this chart by achieving cumulative album sales of 16 million.

Following their lead, Tomorrow X Together (BigHit), ENHYPEN (Belift Lab) and NewJeans (ADOR) sold 6.5 million, 3.88 million and 4.26 million copies respectively.

To better understand the context of MBC’s teaser, tune into Hangout With Yoo featuring BSS on April 27 at 6:30 pm KST.


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