BTS’ Label Accused of ‘Illegal Marketing’ In Dirty Blackmailing Episode

BTS’ label, Big Hit Entertainment, has denied any wrongdoing.  Yet, what exactly did the now-jailed CEO claim to have found?

Earlier today, the CEO of a contracting firm received a one year prison sentence for blackmailing BTS’ label, Big Hit Entertainment.  The CEO, referred to as ‘Lee,’ had threatened to publicly reveal the agency’s “illegal marketing.”

In an e-mail to Big Hit Entertainment, Lee wrote,

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.

Reports initially stated that Big Hit Entertainment had paid off the CEO.  In an official statement, however, the agency denied that it gave any money to the blackmailer.  Instead, a Big Hit employee transferred money to Lee in an attempt to protect artists.

The agency said,

“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 also acknowledged that it had once worked closely with Lee.  In addition, the agency specified that Lee allegedly came across “inappropriate marketing documents.”  The company didn’t specify what the documents contained.

“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.”

A judge presiding over the case wrote that Lee had found a company secret and condemned his attempted blackmail.

This is a severe offense by [Lee], who took advantage of a client’s secret.

In their statement, Big Hit clarified that the CEO’s attempted blackmail ultimately led to his downfall.  It also added that the company has “legitimate dealings with external companies.”

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 (better known as ARMY).

“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.”

In the wake of the controversy, Xsports News has questioned BTS’ legitmacy.

In a blunt piece, Xsports News reporter Jeon Won questioned whether these ‘illegal practices’ included fabricated hashtag votes for BTS.  And ultimately, ‘voter fraud’ of a different sort.  Here’s what Won wrote:

With the accusations of illegal marketing practices, BTS’ eligibility for the ‘Top Social Artist’ award comes to suspicion.  The winner of the award is determined by the hashtag votes and BTS has received more than 300 million.  However, some netizens are now questioning the legitimacy.  If the marketing took place with the use of part-time employees (to increase votes), then it’ll be fair for BTS to return the trophy.”

ARMYs have since demanded an apology from Won for suggesting that Big Hit fabricated votes for the popular group.


Image by Ajeong_JM (CC by 4.0)


60 Responses


    literally the stupidest thing I have ever read…pls do some actual research or else it becomes an insult to journalism and reporting

    • EXO'S ARMY

      this is the most exotic news I ever read. ARMY is best in cheating!!!

      • smh exotic

        jesus you need to take a seat and realize that yo ass is def jealous of the shit coming out of yo mouth

      • Jamless

        Come on exo fans are you mad because bts take over the world and beat biggest boyband in 90’s ‘The Beatles’ and win 2 rows in Grammy awards, come on they cant cheat that award because grammy is the biggest music awards for Best Musician. Then fck u!

    • j-hope glazed d*ck

      omg I’m an army but bts are cheating ! i hope they stop them … everyone knows that they don’t desrve it if they will cheat ! they should go to jail !

      • Meh

        It’s actually very false, don’t just rust this website. They didn’t show the whole story.

      • Ddaeng

        Troll posing as a fake army. Talk about major cheating and a loser!

      • Jamless

        Fck! Are you a kid? Come on this is fcking lie and this owner of website is just a big basher of bts

    • serena

      is this real ? I’m an army and didn’t know about this i just joined the fandom 2018 but i guess I’m leaving it .. i can’t support a group who do illegal marketing..

      • The heck

        It’s not the whole story, he didn’t do his full research

      • mujii

        This guy is just a salty anti and you’re probably just a troll too

      • Anonymous

        Get out of the army fandom. We don’t need you. A true army knows their whole story.

      • Jamless

        Hahahahaha small brain idiotic ppl believing a false

        Idiot small brains! Hahaha

  2. love yourself

    army demanded apology for spreading lies not for “suggesting the crime” bc there wasn’t any crime to suggest … fans voted so they won the award its as simple as that… there wasn’t any crime …
    seriously at least Paul was a bit funny with his obvious pathetic hate but this article is just a new level of fail hahaha

  3. Yesanonymous

    Please retire!!! Like… now. Do the world of true journalism and reporting a favour today- retire. It ain’t your forte dear. You are simply too biased. Is there nothing better for you to do but report trash about others?

  4. anon

    so does no one that works for this website do any research before they decide to slander someone



  6. what the fuck???

    why is this website so anti-bts? is the creator of this website forcing his low-waged workers to write shit about bts so they can get some cum cum from their daddy or something?

    • Anony


  7. you really don't learn, do you paul

    The marketing was all legal and happened two years ago. Two. Years. Ago. If you think that legitimately had any effect on the BBMAs, you’re out of your damn mind.

    Jeon Won is known for being paid off by companies to write biased articles, usually against BTS – just like you. Now she’s trended number one worldwide and had her article pulled down.

    Shame if something like that happened to you……………….

  8. Teller

    First they bully junior artists, now journalists like Perez Hilton, Xsports and now this. ARMYs need to chill.

    • here we go again

      ^^^ suck my cock, we’re not “bullying” anyone considering how long this site has been spreading fake shit about BTS to piss us off for views and comments. backlash should be expected unless you’re a feeble dumbass who can’t take what you dish out. also i’m pretty sure me, ws and teller are all the same person, probably paul himself lmaooo. find it kinda fucking hilarious how you and sanchez are the only people writing for this trashy, half-baked website. to sanchez, I hope paul is paying you at least min wage to make these sort of articles your life work huhuhu

      • sid

        Tch…tch. Such immature fans. BTS=BitTerneS. Really such low-lives.

        • ??

          Its called standing up for peiple we love and care about. Get yo facts straight before you go saying shit

        • Ddaeng

          BTS = Bitterness, low lives???
          LOL I bet you’re eating your own words.
          Since your low life comment 2 yrs ago, BTS has been flying high, not low, with their UN speech, sold out US concerts, esp. Citi Field Stadium, Tonight Show, BBMA(again!) and AMA, and the first Kpop artists to be invited by the snooty Grammys, etc.. Facts.

  9. La

    It’s actually quite illegal in the United States both to write slander and to write paid content without noting your sponsorship. I’ve reported to the appropriate authorities. Highly recommend you consider noting whom paid you or removing the article entirely as the fines can be quite large and they aren’t paying you near enough to cover it.

    • Lah

      I am sure they know the rules better than pressed fans licking criminals boots to save their oppa’s asses. It is just the beginning, we will wait for the documents. If they truly manipulated figures than damn them, good luck for illegal marketing and plagiarizing.

    • equality

      hypocrite! just accept the truth and go. if you want to accuse other of unlawful activities make sure you don’t deny any wrongdoings done by your party of interest.

  10. Army

    Omg I didn’t know that! Why is everyone hating it’s the truth isn’t it?

  11. Mediator

    Please ARMYs show a little bit of restraint in your outbursts.
    This article is trying to appeal to people against BTS which obviously isn’t us… But don’t stoop down to their level and ridicule them in a foul way.
    You’re part of something great being an ARMY, don’t bring it down by being just as foul as the articles.
    If anything it proves a point to them that’s not good.

    • Daniel Sanchez

      This is a question that I have for BTS fans, better known as ARMYs: How exactly is this article libel or defamation?

      Let’s take a look at the facts presented prior to writing “OMG SLANDER OMG DEFAMATION OMG LOW-WAGE PAID WRITER GET LOST LOZER HAHA.”

      1. BTS’ label was “accused” of running an illegal marketing campaign. Now, an accusation doesn’t count as fact. Did CEO Lee make the accusation? Yes. Did Big Hit Entertainment defend themselves? Yes. Did this article include both Big Hit Entertainment’s statement as well as that of a South Korean judge? Yes. So, how is this defamation?

      2. Xsports News report Jeon Won wrote an article questioning the validity of BTS’ ‘Top Social Artist’ award. Now, did I imply that the statements were factual? No. In fact, this article clearly shows that BTS fans (in this case, the audience posting negative comments against my person) have readily defended the group against accusations. Did I write anything to support Won’s claim? No.

      3. This article clearly cites its sources:, which cites two South Korea articles, and How exactly would this be fake news, considering both sites also ran similar pieces?

      To ARMYs: I understand your love for the group. Yet, I would recommend being careful in making derogatory accusations, considering that nothing in the article supports your claim that I am, in fact, an anti-BTS fan. I have made no allegations about the group, other than presenting the facts already reported by other media outlets over the accusation directed at Big Hit Entertainment. So, what are your accusations based on exactly?

      I won’t speak more on the matter. Anything else that I can do to help, I’m at your service.

      • An army with a brain

        i am honestly sorry… i am myself a bts fan, your article was definitely factual and not at all biased or defamatory.It was very factual. I think the only reason you are getting the hate because paul’s articles about rapmonster going solo and all those plastic surgery BS were really biased and unproffessional.A lot of kpop fans are young so i am sorry that they attacked you without being rational.Anyway if you guys want to report about BTS, can you plz write the articles instead of Paul?Your writing style is much better than Paul

      • just someone

        I do appreciate you citing your sources, I believe you also need to look at the legitimacy of your sources though.

  12. alice

    the way triggered fangirls are protecting these celebrities’ company with baseless ‘facts’, it’s hilarious yet scary how idolism can brainwash you and make you unrealistic.

  13. Chas

    “At 7:30 p.m. on September 6, 2017, Xportsnews released an ‘X’s Focus’ article about BTS.

    “The article was a column containing a reporter’s opinions. Immediately following the article’s publication, [Xportsnews] determined that the content of the article was problematic, and deleted the piece from our site at 8:15 p.m, after which it was also removed from various portal sites.

    “The article in question made leaps in logic; we apologize for the article containing the potential for misunderstandings that we were devaluing the artist’s and fans’ efforts, and also for hurting the artist and their fans.

    “In no way did [Xportsnews] intend to belittle the efforts of [BTS and BTS’s fans]. However, in the end, we did hurt [BTS and their fans], and for that we sincerely apologize.

    “Taking this incident as a lesson, we will do our best to release accurate and fair reports in the future. Thank you.”


  14. Griswaldgirl

    You defend yourself and say you did nothing wrong, never misrepresented the allegations as facts. This is the problem. The entire nature of the blackmail threat to bighit was the power of percieved wrong. Lee wasn’t threatening to get bighit in legal trouble but to harm their reputation and give antifans and netizens a reason to undermine BTS’s hard earned success and popularity, possibly destroying the band. Reputation is perception, rumours that start with “I heard” or “he said” don’t claim the rumour is true but are just as powerful at spreading false information and destroying reputations, because it is the nature of humans to revel in the failings of others, to want to bring low the high placed.
    Army and other kpop fans worked very hard for weeks to put BTS and kpop on the map. It wasn’t that BTS had more fans than the other top social artists that brought them the bbma win, it was how incredibly passionate and invested ARMY is. They understand better than those less versed in Korean culture how scandal can end a group’s career. Bighit especially understands the threat. Bighit had a girl group, GLAM, that was disbanded after a terrible scandal involving one member. They were my first kpop stan, I was truly grieved to realize I would never see them again, hear their music again. All their years and hard work and investment destroyed.
    Daniel your articles focus isn’t on the fact that Bighit was a victem of a blackmail scheme by a desperate failing business man more than a year ago, your article was about what did bighit do to get blackmailed for. Your headline used the words “BTS’s label Accused”, already framing every readers idea with Bighit as the criminal. Your lead sentence states “bighit denies….. YET”. The word choice throughout your article only encourages the impression that bighit did illegal marketing practices and encourages your reader to assume that those practices contributed to BTS in such away that their fame and awards may be undeserved.
    ARMY and BTS together earned their awards, to instead perpetuate the idea that unethical marketing did that insults both BTS, Bighit and ARMY. All you need to do to perpetuate rumour and slander is repeat it without denying it and that exactly what you did. It may not be illegal but yours is an article that feeds humans ugly side and you must know that, you’ve made it your job. How ugly.

    • Anonymous

      BEST Comment that was thoroughly well-thought out. You should write for this website since you actually sound like an articulate, objective journalist. Then again, I think someone like you would be over-qualified for a D-level website like this. ha

  15. Griswaldgirl

    Sorry CORRECTION: NOT OVER A YEAR AGO, THE BEGINNING OF THIS YEAR. the CEO blackmailer worked with BTS two years ago on one project but then when faced with possible financial ruin, contacted a Bighit employee and said he had hacked into their records and found records of illegal marketing practices. He threatened to share the document with press and message boards if not given what amounts to around $50,000 US. The fact that they were contracted to market on 2 albums but only ended up working one project makes me wonder if they did the illegal practice while working for Bighit and that’s why they only worked on one project. This makes sense with why Bighit proclaims their innocence, the judge calls it a company secret and the CEO in dire circumstances, with Bighit winning every big award last year in asian music, targets Bighit. Thou they makes sense as a target even if the blackmail is completely baseless. We have no idea what illegal marketing even could entail. The xsports article is the one that speculates its employees of bighit voting in fan voting affected award catagories.

  16. Antis need oppas

    Call Army immature, yet you’re all claiming this is “truth” when evidence hasn’t actually been found?


  17. emmajfc

    ARMY… please chill. I’m honesty disappointed. The language used in some of these comments are down-right profane. Please remember that your behavior reflects not only on other ARMY, but also back on the boys and their public image.
    The article itself was mostly reason-based and without any definite bias (unlike Paul’s journalism). In regards to this particular article, The bombardment of hate is uncalled for. If you wish to discuss any discrepancies, address them with a higher degree of class and maturity.
    I know many of you are concerned with Digital Music News’s habit of publishing articles designed to push at all of our buttons as we have the habit of jumping at the chance to protect the boys from any injustice, and hence allowing the website to garner more views.
    If it really distresses you to this extent, refrain from visiting this website in the future. Boycotting will be more effective means of reducing the amount of hate articles than slandering the author right back.

  18. Sipsipsippy

    Dangg bts cheated their win they should have gotten the award yet they dont have to return it, army’s accused the writer of this article that only stated facts about what was happening and what had happened and armys attack him just because they dont like that hes spitting facts. Your fandom cant accept the truth and reality is like rubbing salt in you guys wounds what in the actual hell is up with yalls fandom

      • Ddaeng

        I don’t understand what you’re trying to say, but please be articulate yourself. Read Griswaldgirl *’s postings, since she has explained the situation clearly. The writer of this article, Sanchez, did not write in factual manner at all. It was biased with lots of assumptions and implications, not facts.

  19. More info

    Now, here’s the thing 300,000,000 votes in total over a period of time. 100 votes per person a day. So that would mean that the army and other support from different fandoms voted about 3 million times a day. If you look at current voting trends for the iheart awards you will see that it’s actually very possible for a Fandom to vote 3 million times a day (even though iheart has a limit of only 50 times) for the reporter, I can understand that it’s shocking to see how dedicated armys can be. Coming from a person who listens to kpop once in a while, I can tell you that that reported was probably biased. So army, I know you’re upset. However, don’t harass the writer of this article. Also, I’ve read some of the korean articles regarding the “illegal” marketing scandal. The more you learn about ceo Lee’s company, the more you see why the judges deemed him guilty. His company was going bankrupt, and they found plans that he was also trying to blackmail other labels. As for the personal attempt made by that one bighit employee, he didn’t pay the whole 330 million won. He only payed about 52,000 over 8 different transfers before he reported it to the ceo of bighit. Who then reported it to police. Also, bighit doesn’t just have bts. Although it is their main group, they have HOMME and a girl group called GLAM that disbanded about 2 years ago, which kinda falls under the marketing time bighit worked with ceo lee. He also didn’t specify that it was illegal marketing of bts two years ago, nor did bighit. Bighit apologized to army and bts fans, because most news outlets and reporters assumed it was bts, and reported it as that. Even though they weren’t and aren’t the only artist under bighit

    • More info

      *** I just realized I wasn’t specific enough with the money. Lee demanded about 291,000 usd. The bighit employee only paid about 52,000 of it over 8 different transfers over a period of time, before finally reporting it. The employee was the one who received the email most likely.

      • Math

        You had a good point, but did the math wrong. 300,000,000 ÷ 20 (the amount of days the voting period was) = 15,000,000 votes per day. 15,000,000 ÷ 100 (max amount of times people can vote) = at least 150,000 army voted per day. At this point BTS had well over 4 million fans at least, that were dedicated. So it’s not too surprising that they could rack up that many votes.

  20. mujii

    If Big Hit Entertainment presses charges against you, you would be charged with defaming them and spreading false rumours. Which could either lead to a fine, your entire company being shut down, or even going to prison for a while.

    And all this over a few views?? Disgusting.

    Actually, this is kinda ironic, considering how the story of this guy being a dick to BTS might as well be your future ahah