And the beat goes on.
The story of the highly public feud between Taylor Swift and uber-manager Scooter Braun began over the summer, when the latter bought the rights to Swift’s back catalog, continued last week when Swift accused Braun of not letting her perform songs from said catalog at the American Music Awards this Sunday, and has no end in sight.
As of Thursday, though, the story now has one thing it didn’t before: Braun’s word on the matter.
At a Q&A at Variety and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Entertainment Industry Conference, Scooter Braun finally weighed in on the situation, for the first time since his Ithaca Holdings bought Big Machine Records, Swift’s former label, from Scott Borchetta. Mostly, he stressed his interest in sitting down with Swift to talk one-on-one.
“I haven’t talked about this in six months. Not once. I haven’t made a statement about it,” Braun said, according to Variety. “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.”
The rest of his remarks on the subject are equally neutral, save for the moment he clarifies that he “disagree[s] with” the narrative that Swift has put forth. Considering that her narrative casts him as a manipulative gaslighter, he has ample motivation to do so.
While Braun didn’t say all that much about the ongoing debacle, he did allude to the “death threats” coming his way since Swift called upon her devoted fanbase to question Braun on her behalf. Braun then went into further detail about the rabid response from Swifties in an open letter to the artist on Instagram, which could be described as “emotional” or “calculated,” depending on whom you believe.
“Since your public statement last week there have been numerous death threats directed at my family,” Braun writes. “This morning I spoke out publicly for the first time saying I wouldn’t participate in a social media war. However I came home tonight to find my wife had received a phone call threatening the safety of our children as well as other threats seen above. I won’t go in to the details of this past week. I have been at a loss. Thinking of my wife and children, my team and their families, I have gone through a range of emotions on how to deal with this. I write this now only after a deep breathe and much reflection. I am certain there is no situation ever worth jeopardizing anyone’s safety.”
While most of what follows in the note continues to paint a picture of the nightmare that is being harassed by the fans of one of the world’s biggest pop stars, Braun takes a moment to address the subject of the whole saga’s latest twist: the American Music Awards.
“As the world now knows you can and should perform any song you would like at the AMAs,” he writes. “I have never and would never say otherwise. You do not need anyone’s permission to do so legally but I am stating it here clearly and publicly so there is no more debate or confusion.”
So there you have it. Taylor Swift will be performing her old hits at the show after all, and Braun gets to look magnanimous for allowing her to do so. Was this the plan all along? Is he actually as hapless in all this as he appears? Find out next time on Ryan Murphy Presents: Feud: Scooter v Swift.