September 6, the Seoul Central District Court revealed that the CEO of a contracting firm was sentenced to one year in prison for blackmailing Big Hit Entertainment, threatening to reveal information to the public about alleged illegal marketing by the agency.
According to sources, Big Hit Entertainment hired the aforementioned company for a marketing project. When the company started to struggle financially, the CEO anonymously threatened Big Hit, asking for money in exchange for keeping quiet about certain marketing documents.
In the CEO’s email to Big Hit, he said, “I’ve hacked and obtained all your documents regarding the illegal marketing you’ve done for your artists. If you don’t send 330 million won (approximately $291,000), I’ll release the documents to the media and distribute it through messaging services.”
The judge residing over the case said, “This is a severe offense by ’A’ [the CEO; only identified in the article by an initial], who took advantage of a client’s secret.”
Big Hit Entertainment released a statement on the issue, saying that the illegal marketing documents alluded to by A are completely one-sided claims.
Big Hit has nothing to hide, so as soon as we became aware of the situation, we filed a report with the police, and actively cooperated with investigations. Initial reports stated that Big Hit complied with the blackmailers demands, and sent A a total of 57 million won (approximately $50,200) across eight different transfers. Big Hit explained that the agency never sent money to A: The money that was transferred to [A] was the inevitable result of a personal attempt by the Big Hit employee in charge [to whom the threats were initially directed] to protect our artists images. The agency itself never gave money to the blackmailer.
Continuing, Big Hit stated, If Big Hits reputation ends up being damaged by these claims and reports, despite immediately handling of the situation by filing a report and cooperating with police, then there will be no entertainment agencies in the future that can take appropriate measures in the face of blackmail and threats.
Closing, the agency apologized: Were 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.