While most of us were happily celebrating Pride this weekend, Taylor Swift woke up to a nasty surprise: infamous manager Scooter Braun had purchased her old label Big Machine Records, and with it the masters of her early albums. This came as an especially devastating blow for Swift as Big Machine had previously refused to sell those same masters to her.
"For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work," Swift wrote in a candid Tumblr post. "Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and 'earn' one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, [Big Machine president] Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums."
Swift learned of the sale when it was publicly announced, and was immediately brought back to the incessant, manipulative bullying" she says she suffered at Braun's hands for years. "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. This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen 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."
Many of Swift's friends and colleagues have voiced their public support for her, demanding that Braun be held accountable. One of those friends is musician and producer Todrick Hall, who worked on Swift's "You Need to Calm Down" music video. "For those asking, I left Scooter Braun a long time ago...I am saddened by this news, but not shocked," Hall tweeted. "He is an evil person who's only concern is his wealth and feeding his disgusting ego. I believe he is homophobic & I know from his own mouth that he is not a Swift fan."
But Braun has his own supporters, including his client Demi Lovato, who took to Instagram to say she has "dealt with bad people in this industry and Scooter is not one of them. He's a good man. Personally, I'm grateful he came into my life when he did. Please stop 'dragging' people or bullying them. There's enough hate in this world as it is." Lovato also responded to Hall's post, writing that "making claims that someone is homophobic is really serious" and that Braun is anything but homophobic. "As a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, he wouldn't have signed me if he was." Ah, the classic "I'm queer and he's my friend so he can't be homophobic!" line of defense.
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