Justin Bieber has responded after Taylor Swift hit out against Scooter Braun – the rep for celebs like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen – following the talent manager’s recent $300 million acquisition of her former label Big Machine Label Group.
The deal reportedly includes the ownership of Swift’s first six records, from her 2006 self-titled debut album to 2014’s ‘1989’, to her latest, ‘Reputation’. She releases new album ‘Lover’ later this year.
In a statement posted on her Tumblr, the pop star expressed her disappointment at the deal, describing it as her “worst case scenario”. Big Machine’s founder/CEO Scott Borchetta wasn’t spared Taylor’s wrath, either – she described him as “someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept”.
According to her post, Swift had learned about the acquisition at the same time the world did, on Sunday morning (June 30). The 29-year-old icon had been trying to wrestle back ownership of her own master recordings from Big Machine for the past few years, but she was ultimately dismissed, Swift revealed. She eventually left the label in November 2018 after agreeing to a multi-year record deal with Republic Records and Universal Music Group.
“I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in,” Swift wrote. “I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums.”
Swift then called Braun out for his years-long “incessant, manipulative bullying”.
“Like when Kim Kardashian orchestrated an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call to be leaked and then Scooter got his two clients together to bully me online about it,” she wrote. “Or when his client, Kanye West, organised a revenge porn music video which strips my body naked. Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.”
She continued, “Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to. He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever.”
It was then followed by Bieber’s direct response, in which he criticised Swift.
View this post on Instagram
Hey Taylor. First of all i would like to apologize for posting that hurtful instagram post, at the time i thought it was funny but looking back it was distasteful and insensitive.. I have to be honest though it was my caption and post that I screenshoted of scooter and Kanye that said “taylor swift what up” he didnt have anything to do with it and it wasnt even a part of the conversation in all actuality he was the person who told me not to joke like that.. Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you.! As the years have passed we haven’t crossed paths and gotten to communicate our differences, hurts or frustrations. So for you to take it to social media and get people to hate on scooter isn’t fair. What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? seems to me like it was to get sympathy u also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully scooter. Anyway, One thing i know is both scooter and i love you. I feel like the only way to resolve conflict is through communication. So banter back and fourth online i dont believe solves anything. I’m sure Scooter and i would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain or or any feelings that need to be addressed. Neither scooter or i have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you. I usually don’t rebuttal things like this but when you try and deface someone i loves character thats crossing a line..
“Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you.! As the years have passed we haven’t crossed paths and gotten to communicate our differences, hurts or frustrations. So for you to take it to social media and get people to hate on scooter isn’t fair,” wrote Bieber.
“What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? seems to me like it was to get sympathy u also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully scooter. Anyway, One thing i know is both scooter and i love you. I feel like the only way to resolve conflict is through communication. So banter back and fourth online i dont believe solves anything. I’m sure Scooter and i would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain or or any feelings that need to be addressed. Neither scooter or i have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you. I usually don’t rebuttal things like this but when you try and deface someone i loves character thats crossing a line..”
Following Swift’s social media post, Borchetta responded with a statement published on Big Machine’s official website. It claims Swift had actually known about the acquisition a day prior to the official announcement. In a post titled ‘So It’s Time For Some Truth…’, Borchetta alleges that he had “personally texted Taylor” on Saturday (June 29) night so “she could hear [the news] directly from me”.
He goes on to respond to some of the points Swift brought up in her statement: “100 per cent of all Taylor Swift assets were to be transferred to her immediately upon signing the new agreement. We were working together on a new type of deal for our new streaming world that was not necessarily tied to ‘albums’ but more of a length of time.”
“We are an independent record company,” he wrote. “We do not have tens of thousands of artists and recordings. My offer to Taylor, for the size of our company, was extraordinary. But it was also all I could offer as I am responsible for dozens of artists’ careers and over 120 executives and their families.”
Borchetta also claimed that Swift had the chance to own her masters, videos, photographs and “everything associated to her career”, but “she chose to leave”.
Additionally, the Big Machine founder refuted Swift’s claim of being close to tears every time Braun was brought up in their conversations. “There were also times where Taylor knew that I was close to Scooter and that Scooter was a very good source of information for upcoming album releases, tours, etc, and I’d reach out to him for information on our behalf,” Borchetta wrote. Read his full response here, which includes evidence of several legal documents.
In a statement issued to NME, Swift’s PR denied Scott Swift’s involvement. She said: “Scott Swift is not on the board of directors and never has been. On June 25, there was a shareholder phone call that Scott Swift did not participate in, due to a very strict NDA that bound all shareholders and prohibited any discussion at all without the risk of severe penalty.”
The statement continued: “Her dad did not join that call, because he did not want to be required to withhold any information from his own daughter. Taylor found out from the news articles when she woke up before seeing any text from Scott Borchetta, and he did not call her in advance.”
In light of the unfolding drama, many musicians and celebrities, including Halsey and Todrick Hall, have taken to social media to pen messages of support to Swift. Martha Hunt and Joseph Khan, a model and Swift’s frequent collaborator on music videos, respectively, weighed in on the feud, too. You can read their posts below.
— h (@halsey) June 30, 2019
I truly hope justice is served and that my friend’s music will fall into the hands of a better human.
— Todrick Hall (@todrick) June 30, 2019
I would normally not say anything because I’m sure scooter will threaten me like he has before to keep me quiet, but guess what Scooter, nothing you can do to me would be worst than the 6 years of my life I can’t get back from when & I was ignored as your “artist”
— Todrick Hall (@todrick) July 1, 2019
Taylor doesn’t deserve for someone who has constantly BULLIED her to OWN THE RIGHTS to her blood, sweat, + tears. It’s not the dark ages – artists shouldn’t be held down, and I couldn’t be prouder of my friend for standing up for what’s right. End of story.
— Martha Hunt (@MarthaHunt) July 1, 2019
There is one way for @scooterbraun to salvage this situation and make this right. Sell Taylor's songs back to her. He can keep the rest of Big Machine. All artists are watching.
— Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) July 1, 2019
But not everyone is on Swift’s side. Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato are among some of the celebs who have come forward to defend Braun.
Lovato, on the other hand, described Braun as a good man. “I have dealt with bad people in this industry and Scooter is not one of them,” the singer wrote on Instagram. “Personally, I’m grateful he came into my life when he did. Please stop ‘dragging’ people or bullying them. There’s enough hate in this world as it is.”
Read Swift’s full post below: