Scott "Scooter" Braun is one of the entertainment industry’s biggest power brokers

By Dave Quinn
July 01, 2019 03:57 PM
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Scott “Scooter” Braun‘s name made headlines on Sunday when Taylor Swift slammed him for alleged “incessant, manipulative bullying” amid his purchase of her musical catalog.

The music mogul and manager’s company Ithaca Holdings on Saturday acquired Big Machine Label Group — the record label that owned her music catalog — for $300 million from Scott Borchetta, who worked with Swift from 2006 until she left Big Machine for Universal Music Group late last year.

According to Swift, she had tried for years to own her own music from Big Machine but never did. Hearing that Braun had ultimately purchased her masters from Borchetta was her “worst nightmare.”

“All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years,” Swift, whose new album Lover comes out Aug. 23, wrote in a lengthy Tumblr post.

As an example, Swift shared a photo of an Instagram post Justin Bieber — one of Scooter’s longtime clients — had posted in August 2016, depicting him FaceTiming Scooter and the manager’s on-and-off client Kanye West. The image was posted by Bieber after West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, leaked a recording of a phone call that appeared to show Swift giving West permission to reference her in his song “Famous.”

“Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter,” Swift added. “Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it. This is my worst case scenario.”

Braun has yet to respond (a rep for the manager declined PEOPLE’s comment), but stars like Bieber and Demi Lovato have come out to support him.

Here’s everything to know about Braun:

Scooter Braun
| Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty

He’s worked with a ton major celebrities.

As founder of diversified entertainment and media company SB Projects, Braun has an A-list roster of top talent names under his management, record label, and publishing companies — including Bieber, Ariana Grande, Dan + Shay, Carly Rae Jepsen, Hilary Duff, Usher, Tori Kelly, The Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta, Zac Brown Band, Idina Menzel, Karlie Kloss, Ashley Graham and Martin Garrix.

Many of his early clients included singers who broke through on YouTube, with Braun guiding their viral stardom into longterm success. That includes Psy (“Gangnam Style”), Jepsen, and Bieber.

On his website, Braun boasts that he’s “broken more new artists than any other music executive in the last decade.”

Scooter Braun
| Credit: John Salangsang/Variety/Shutterstock

He began his career as a party promoter.

Before Braun became a major entertainment industry player, he was that guy trying to get people to come to a party.

While still a student at Emory University in 2002, Braun was hired in to plan the official after-parties for Eminem and Ludacris’ Anger Management Tour. From there, producer Jermaine Dupri offered him a marketing position at So So Def Records, promoting Braun to the executive director for marketing position the following year. He was just 20 at the time.

Eventually, Braun decided to go on his own, launching his own business with the help of a $12 million product deal between Ludacris and Pontiac.

Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun
| Credit: Jeff Kravitz/AMA2015/FilmMagic

He helped guide Justin Bieber’s career from the beginning, including his 2015 comeback.

One of Braun’s first clients was Bieber. In fact, if it weren’t for Braun, the Canadian singer might not be the pop star fans know and love today.

Braun convinced Bieber’s mother to bring him to Atlanta back when the “Love Yourself” singer was just a 12-year-old kid posting song covers to YouTube. After a small trial period, Bieber eventually moved to the United States permanently and began working under Usher — a partnership Braun brokered. Eventually, Bieber was signed to Island Def Jam records, where he broke big.

When Bieber’s off-stage behavior began making more headlines than his music, Braun engineered a comeback, lifting his career into adulthood with the help of two hit singles: “What Do You Mean?” and “Where Are Ü Now.”

That started by getting Bieber to acknowledge that there was a problem in the first place. “I was trying to do that job for a year and a half, and I failed every single day,” Braun told The New York Times in 2015. “It wasn’t until something happened that it clicked for him. He made the conscious decision as a young man: ‘I need to make a change in my own life.’ ”

From there, Braun gave him six months to take care of himself (“He wanted to tour, and I honestly at that time felt, if he toured, he could die,” Braun told The Times) before bringing Bieber back with a sea of Calvin Klein ads and a Comedy Central roast.

Braun has since helped other stars, like Ariana Grande, guide their career through rocky times (in Grande’s case, the aftermath of the Manchester bombing and her breakup from Pete Davidson).

Scooter Braun and Ariana Grande
| Credit: Kevin Mazur/MTV1415/WireImage/ Getty Images

He’s a dad.

Braun and married wife Yael Cohen in 2014 in a romantic ceremony in Whistler, British Columbia.

The couple have three kids together: sons Jagger Joseph, 4, and Levi Magnus, 2; and daughter Hart Violet, born Dec. 1, 2018.

Yael has defended her husband against Swift’s claims, writing on Instagram, “Girl, who are you to talk about bullying? The world has watched you collect and drop friends like wilted flowers. My husband is anything but a bully, he’s spent his life standing up for people and causes he believes in. Beyond that, it’s easy to see that the point of putting this out was to get to bully him. You are supposed to be a role model, but continue to model bullying.”

“I have never been one for a public airing of laundry, but when you attack my husband… here we go,” she said.

Yael Cohen Braun and Scooter Braun
| Credit: Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Braun’s business partner Allison Kaye echoed Yael’s statement by reposting it on her Instagram with a new caption of her own on Sunday aimed at Swift.

“I also hate a public airing of grievances and so I will refrain from offering my take on the actual facts of what happened today vs what is being splashed all over the internet,” she began. “However, I must call out the absolutely reprehensible action of making any of this about gender… I can categorically say that @scooterbraun is not only a good man who supports all women – particularly you, who he has defended and advocated for behind close doors more times than i can say – but he also owns a company run mostly by women. A company in which I am both president and a named partner.”

“As a woman who has been working so hard for equality in the music industry, @taylorswift I beg of you, please don’t cheapen the efforts of those who came before you,” she continued. “As women we have struggled for so long to be treated commensurately with our male counterparts – not to be given special accommodations because the parties on the other side of the table happen to be male. As women we don’t need those type of allowances – we are strong, smart and capable of the same things men are and deserve the same respect they receive – hence the desire for an equal playing field. Asking for anything but that is childish and immature and absolutely not befitting of the strong adult female leader we both know you can be.”

He’s a philanthropist.

SB Projects has expanded well beyond music and publishing, with Braun growing the company into a multifaceted business. And a major part of that is giving back.

He serves as chair of the advisory board on Pencils of Promise, a non-profit organization that builds schools in developing countries. Established by Braun’s younger brother Adam, the organization has helped to build more than 300 schools in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

In addition, Braun is also on the board of F— Cancer, a charity started by his wife. The organization raises money to fight the disease while pushing for prevention and early detection.

Braun also helped organize the One Love Manchester benefit, the Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief telethon and the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C.

“His companies have – together – granted more wishes for Make-A-Wish than any other organization in the history of the foundation,” Braun’s website reads.