Music

“It’s Gotten Out Of Hand”: Scooter Braun Finally Addresses Feud With Taylor Swift

"When it gets to a place where there’s death threats and there’s offices being called and people being threatened… it’s gotten out of hand."

Scooter Braun Taylor Swift phot

After months of silence, music industry magnate Scooter Braun has publicly addressed his ongoing battle with Taylor Swift over his purchase of her former record label, urging the singer to be open to sitting down and talking it out.

Braun’s company Ithaca Holdings purchased Big Machine Records earlier this year, consequently acquiring the masters to Swift’s first six albums — something the pop star was decidedly not happy about. She told fans she was devastated: “All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years,” she said in a statement at the time. Swift then announced she would be re-recording her first six albums next year.

The dispute has since gotten uglier — last week Swift claimed Braun and Big Machine CEO Scott Borchetta were preventing her from performing her old songs at the upcoming American Music Awards, where she is being honoured as the Artist of the Decade.

“The message being sent to me is clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished,” she wrote to her fans. “This is wrong. Neither of these men had a hand in the writing of those songs. They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans…Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this.”

Swift’s massive fanbase leapt into action — BMR’s headquarters in Nashville was temporarily closed due to the volume of threats they were receiving — and celebrities such as Lily Allen, Selena Gomez, Jameela Jamil, and Halsey publicly threw their support behind her.

Throughout it all, Braun remained silent — until yesterday, when he was asked to comment during a Q&A at Variety’s Entertainment Industry Conference in LA.

“I haven’t talked about this in six months. Not once. I haven’t made a statement about it,” he told moderator Shirley Halperin. “When there’s a lot of things being said and a lot of different opinions, yet the principals haven’t had a chance to speak to each other, there’s a lot of confusion. I’m not going to go into details here, because it’s just not my style.

“I just think we live in a time of toxic division, and of people thinking that social media is the appropriate place to air out on each other and not have conversations. And I don’t like politicians doing it. I don’t like anybody doing it, and if that means that I’ve got to be the bad guy longer, I’ll be the bad guy longer, but I’m not going to participate.”

While he didn’t address Swift directly, his message was clear: every party involved needs to communicate better.

“What I’ll say is, people need to communicate, and when people are able to communicate, I think they work things out,” Braun said. “And I think a lot of times things are miscommunications, because I believe that people are fundamentally good. I think there are a lot of real problems in the world, and I think that these problems that are being discussed can be discussed behind closed doors and figured out pretty easily, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for six months.

“And it’s hard, because I can handle it pretty easily, but when it gets to a place where there’s death threats and there’s offices being called and people being threatened… it’s gotten out of hand. And I think people need to come together and have a conversation, because that’s not what we got in this industry for.”

Braun told the audience he had “no ill will” for anybody, and that he’s more than willing to sit down with Swift to work things out, but he’s not going to “add to the narrative” in a public space.

“The moment people want to have a conversation with me, I’m ready to have that conversation, and I’m not going to add to the narrative. I disagree with it, but I’m not going to add to the narrative. I just want to fix things and set a better example for people,” he said.

“I’ll just say it on a grander scale. I don’t like it watching it in politics. Right now we’re in a scary time where people say things and then people might not be in the right mindset and do really horrible things. And we’re inciting all of this by continuing these arguments in public. We just need to go behind closed doors and see if we can have a conversation. And if we’re not having conversations, then I don’t think we’re going to find resolution.”

Read the full run down from Variety here; Swift had not responded to Braun’s comments at the time of writing.