Insider published a lengthy exposé on Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun’s relationships with his clients and reputation in the music industry, and one of the most striking tidbits was the role Braun played in Bieber’s years-long on-off romance with Selena Gomez. Sources said it created issues between Gomez and Braun and “appalled” Gomez’s close friend Taylor Swift.
Swift later very publicly spoke out against Braun when he purchased Big Machine and her first six albums’ masters (he later sold them to Shamrock Holdings, and Swift is now releasing re-recordings of those albums). Braun’s treatment of Gomez, a source with knowledge of the dynamic said, contributed to her decision.
Multiple sources told Insider that when Bieber was dating Gomez, Braun was a “quasi-parental figure” to Bieber and “appeared to be enmeshed in nearly all aspects” of his life, including Gomez and Bieber’s relationship. Over time, there “definitely got to be bad blood between the two camps,” an individual privy to Gomez and Braun’s dynamic told the outlet.
A source with knowledge of the dynamic told Insider Swift was “appalled by the way Braun handled aspects of Bieber and Gomez’s relationship,” the outlet wrote. The site reported, per the source, that it “was one of the reasons Swift went after Braun so hard” when he later purchased her masters.
Braun’s attorney Marty Singer called the claim about Swift “ridiculous,” and said that Braun “continues to have a very good relationship with Selena.” Singer also pointed out that Braun and Swift were photographed “dancing together in Taylor’s photo booth at a private Billboard afterparty in recent years,” one that took place in 2015.
A source close to Swift took issue with that characterization of their relationship. “If Scooter is trying to insinuate they were friends, it would have been the ‘friendly’ thing to do to ask her if she was okay with him buying her entire life’s work out from under her,” the source said. “He did not do that. Obviously any photo taken with him was before Taylor found out all the details and the full extent of some things that had gone down.”
In her open letter after Braun purchased her masters in 2019, Swift called it her “worst case scenario” and wrote, “I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.”
“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. (See photo) Or when his client, Kanye West, organized a revenge porn music video which strips my body naked,” she continued. “Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy.”
Of Braun’s impact on her, Swift added, “Any time [Big Machine’s] 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 [by selling the masters to him]; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever.”
Gomez showed support for Swift after she published her letter with her own statement against Braun buying the masters and Borchetta selling them. She wrote:
My heart is so heavy right now. It makes me sick and extremely angry. (I don’t mind if there may be retaliation) this is my opinion. It’s greed, manipulation, and power. There is no heart or thought of anyone else. No respect for the words my friend has written since she was a 14-year-old in her bedroom.
You’ve robbed and crushed one of our best songwriters of our time an opportunity to celebrate all of her music with her fans and the world.
I have known Taylor for 13 years. She is the most dedicated, fearless, fiesty [sic], strongest woman I’ve ever known. People can say bitch but what I’m saying to you is that’s called a woman with true identity and strength who takes no shit. I listened to fearless before it came out and I just remember us jumping on a bed and she was just sparkling. ✨ -so proud of her diary being read by the whole world. Nervous of people not liking it… but that became one of the biggest records – an album that saved so many young woman who felt alone. Have a broken heart. Who were healing. Those who felt invisible. Gave a voice to those who didn’t know that they had one all along. Believing in dreams again. I continued to see how she has constantly challenged herself to create a beautiful life that belong to just her. So I can tell you first hand the MOST important thing to Taylor is her family, love, her fans, and her MUSIC. I really hope there is a change of heart over this unfortunate situation.
Seeing my best friend (or any of my friends) be constantly pulled down is the worst feeling. Taylor fights. She will never stop fighting. People grow from choices. Some will stay exactly the same. I just want a change of heart. I love you.
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