On Thursday, Taylor Swift accused Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta of blocking her from performing her old hits at the American Music Awards later this month
On Thursday, the Grammy winner, 29, released a scathing Tumblr post that accused the manager, 38, and her former label head, 57, of blocking her from performing her old hits at the American Music Awards later this month. Swift also alleged that Braun and Borchetta have “declined the use of my older music or performance footage” for a documentary she revealed she has been working on with Netflix.
After her post, many of Swift’s famous friends defended her on social media.
“My heart is so heavy right now. It makes me sick and extremely angry,” Selena Gomez wrote in a lengthy Instagram Story post. “You’ve robbed and crushed one of our best songwriters of our time an opportunity to celebrate all of her music with fans the world.
“I have known Taylor for 13 years. She is the most dedicated, fearless, feisty, 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 s—” Gomez, 27, continued, before reflecting on how nervous Swift was to release her 2008 album Fearless, which went on to have a lasting impact on many of her fans.
“That became one of the biggest records – an album that saved so many young women who felt alone. Have a broken heart. Who are healing. Those who felt invisible. Gave a choice to those who didn’t know that they had one all along,” the singer and actress added. “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 say stay exactly the same. I just want a change of heart. I love you.”
In her own Instagram Story post, Camila Cabello added that “as a fan of Taylor’s music for forever, I have some of the best memories of my life listening to her first albums.”
“I remember listening to songs like love story or you belong with me or the best day on the reputation tour and crying from how much those songs mean to me. It feels heartbreaking and like the world is being robbed of something important and beautiful that she can’t sing these songs, her life’s work, with her fans. How can a record label do this to an artist?” Cabello, 22, asked.
“For her fans and even more for her, it’s not just songs. It’s memories, it brings old friends together, it’s medicine, it’s joy!” she added. “I can’t even imagine how painful this must be for you @taylorswift, I can’t even wrap my head around how this could happen. A record label can’t be allowed to do this to an artist…whatever needs to happen to get this situation fixed, needs to happen.”
“This is not ok…” actress Ruby Rose chimed in on her Instagram Story, before sharing screenshots of Swift’s post.
On his Instagram Story, Todrick Hall, who co-executive produced Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” music video earlier this year, wrote, “This makes me soooo angry.”
“Not only are we looking at an awful business movie, (because one would be incentivized to allow Taylor to perform her songs seeing as it would direct to rediscovery of a catalog they currently profit off of) but this is just mean,” Halsey wrote on her Instagram Story. “This is punishment. This is hoping to silence her from speaking about things by dangling this over her head.”
Halsey continued: “These people are protected because they inspire complicity with fear. Banking on the illusion that people will not stand up for her. That the world will say she is over reacting. You’re barking up the wrong tree. It is her grace and patience in these moments that make her the Artist of the Decade.”
On Twitter, singer Tinashe responded to Swift’s post and wrote, “F— that. We’re with you.”
In a second tweet, she added, “It genuinely genuinely makes me sick to my stomach.”
“Friday” singer Rebecca Black also chimed in and tweeted: “What a complete power pull @scooterbraun @scottborchetta. The way this industry is set up, there are times where we have to get legal permission to perform anything we share rights to. But denying access like this is solely to play with and diminish a person.”
“this is so messed up. 💔,” actress Katie Stevens added.
Justin Bieber, who is managed by Braun, also posted a cryptic message on his Instagram Story on Thursday night, though it is unclear if he was referring to Swift’s new accusations.
“I’m having a rough day, thought I’d share, remind you ur not alone,” he wrote. “Keep pushing.”
In her Thursday post, Swift wrote: “I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show. Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun have now said that I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year.”
According to Swift, Borchetta tried to negotiate and offered to let her perform and use her music if she agreed not to re-record “copycat versions” of her old songs and “stop talking about him and Scooter Braun.“
“The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished,” wrote Swift. “Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this.”
On Friday morning, Big Machine Label Group released a statement that denied Swift’s allegations and accused her of “false information.”
“As Taylor Swift’s partner for over a decade, we were shocked to see her Tumblr statements yesterday based on false information. At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special,” the statement read. “In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere. Since Taylor’s decision to leave Big Machine last fall, we have continued to honor all of her requests to license her catalog to third parties as she promotes her current record in which we do not financially participate.”
“We have worked diligently to have a conversation about these matters with Taylor and her team to productively move forward,” the statement added. “We started to see progress over the past two weeks and were optimistic as recently as yesterday that this may get resolved. However, despite our persistent efforts to find a private and mutually satisfactory solution, Taylor made a unilateral decision last night to enlist her fanbase in a calculated manner that greatly affects the safety of our employees and their families.”
“All we ask is to have a direct and honest conversation,” the statement concluded. “When that happens, you will see there is nothing but respect, kindness and support waiting for you on the other side. To date, not one of the invitations to speak with us and work through this has been accepted.”
In response, Swift’s spokeswoman released a statement denying Big Machine’s claims, claiming the label is “trying to deflect.”
“The truth is, on October 28, 2019 at 5:17 p.m. the Vice President, Rights Management and Business Affairs from Big Machine Label Group sent Taylor Swift’s team the following: ‘Please be advised that BMLG will not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its re-recording restrictions in connection with these two projects: The Netflix documentary and The Alibaba ‘Double Eleven’ event, ‘” the statement said. “To avoid an argument over rights, Taylor performed three songs off her new album Lover at the Double Eleven event as it was clear that Big Machine Label Group felt any televised performance of catalog songs violated her agreement.”
“In addition, yesterday Scott Borchetta, CEO and founder of Big Machine Label Group, flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix,” the statement continued. “Please notice in Big Machine’s statement, they never actually deny either claim Taylor said last night in her post. Lastly, Big Machine is trying to deflect and make this about money by saying she owes them but, an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years.”
In late June, Swift slammed Braun, who manages stars like Bieber and Ariana Grande, upon learning that his Ithaca Holdings had acquired her former record label from Borchetta, essentially taking ownership of her masters.
Borchetta then defended Braun in a letter posted to his label’s website, writing: “As to her comments about ‘being in tears or close to it’ anytime my new partner Scooter Braun’s name was brought up, I certainly never experienced that.”
“Was I aware of some prior issues between Taylor and Justin Bieber? Yes. But 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 continued. “Scooter has always been and will continue to be a supporter and honest custodian for Taylor and her music.”