Taylor Swift's Former Label Head Denies Singer's Claims Scooter Braun Was 'Bullying' Her
"Was I aware of some prior issues between Taylor and Justin Bieber? Yes," Scott Borchetta said
Taylor Swift‘s former record label, Big Machine Label Group, and its founder are speaking out after the singer slammed Scooter Braun for purchasing her music catalog for $300 million.
Hours after Swift said she was “grossed out” by Braun’s acquisition of Big Machine Label Group and her catalog, Scott Borchetta, who worked with Swift from 2006 until she left Big Machine for Universal Music Group late last year, responded with his own lengthy statement on the label’s website.
Along with sharing the conversations he previously had with Swift, 29, about the rights to her past music projects, Borchetta also denied her claims about Braun’s “bullying” of which the star wrote on Tumblr: “Any time 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; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them.”
Borchetta, whose rep declined to comment to PEOPLE, defended new business partner Braun.
“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,” he said.
“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 was never anything but positive about Taylor. He called me directly about Manchester to see if Taylor would participate (she declined),” he said, referring to Braun’s client Ariana Grande‘s Manchester One Love concert that raised funds for the victims of the May 2017 terrorist attack outside her concert that killed 22 and injured over 100 people.
“He called me directly to see if Taylor wanted to participate in the Parkland March (she declined),” Borchetta said of the March for Our Lives in March 2018 that was organized and led by the students and survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
“Scooter has always been and will continue to be a supporter and honest custodian for Taylor and her music,” he added.
Though she wasn’t physically at the event, Swift showed her support for the March for Our Lives campaign last March by donating money and speaking out on Instagram about gun violence ahead of the organized march in Washington, D.C.
Borchetta also responded to Swift’s rep who told PEOPLE in a statement that the Grammy-nominated artist “found out from the news articles when she woke up before seeing any text from Scott Borchetta and he did not call her in advance.”
“I personally texted Taylor at 9:06pm, Saturday, June 29th to inform her prior to the story breaking on the morning of Sunday, June 30th so she could hear it directly from me,” he said. “I guess it’s possible that she might not have seen my text. But, I truly doubt that she ‘woke up to the news when everyone else did.’ ”
A source close to the deal told PEOPLE Swift was given a courtesy note on Saturday by Borchetta. TMZ reported that Taylor’s father, Scott, is on the board of directors of Big Machine Label Group and “has known about the deal for at least a week.”
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However, a spokesperson for Swift refuted TMZ’s claim, telling PEOPLE: “Scott Swift is not on the board of directors and has never been. On June 25, there was a shareholder phone call that Scott Swift did not participate in due to a very strict NDA that bound all shareholders and prohibited any discussion at all without risk of severe penalty. Her dad did not join that call because he did not want to be required to withhold any information from his own daughter.”
In her Tumblr post on Sunday, Swift, whose new album Lover hits shelves Aug. 23, wrote about learning that it was Braun who had ultimately purchased her masters from Borchetta, calling it her “worst nightmare.”
“Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it,” she wrote. “This is my worst case scenario.”
Swift added of Borchetta, “This is what happens when you sign a deal at 15 to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept. And when that man says ‘Music has value,’ he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it.”
Among many of Swift’s friends to speak out in support of her was Cara Delevingne, who commented on Bieber’s Instagram response in which he accused Swift of “crossing a line” in her Tumblr post.
“This issue that @taylorswift is talking out is about far more than a picture and you know that,” Delevingne wrote to Bieber and his wife Hailey Baldwin, who called him a “gentleman” in the comments section.
“As you said, you haven’t spoken to her in years which means you definitely don’t understand the situation. I do. Take a step back and try and learn from this. We should all be on the same team. End of story,” Delevingne concluded.
A rep for Braun declined to comment to PEOPLE.