Taylor Swift Sparks War Of Words
This article has been updated to add a statement from Swift's lawyer.
Taylor Swift came under fire Sunday from Canadian pop star Justin Bieber and his manager Scott 'Scooter' Braun’s Canadian wife Yael Cohen after she accused Braun of “incessant, manipulative bullying.”
In an Instagram post, Bieber wrote: “For you to take it to social media and get people to hate on [S]cooter isn’t fair.”
Cohen, who grew up in Vancouver and married Braun in 2014 in Whistler, posted an Instagram message in which she suggested Swift is a hypocrite.
“Who are you to talk about bullying? The world has watched you collect and drop friends like wilted flowers,” Cohen fumed. “My husband is anything but a bully, he’s spent his life standing up for people and causes he believes in.”
Cohen accused Swift of trying to get people to bully Braun. “You are supposed to be a role model, but continue to model bullying,” she wrote, urging Swift to “control” her fans and “leave our personal life and kids out of this.
“You don’t understand yet what line that crosses, but one day you will.”
Bieber echoed the sentiment. “When you try and [defame] someone i loves (sic) character thats (sic) crossing a line.”
The war of words started when Swift shared in a Tumblr post that she was “sad and grossed out” that Braun now owns the rights to her first six albums.
“All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years,” Swift alleged.
Braun’s Ithaca Holdings paid a reported $300 million U.S. for Big Machine Label Group (BMLG), the company owned by Scott Borchetta. It represents country acts like Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett and Reba McEntire as well as classic rock band Cheap Trick and Canadian pop duo Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine.
Swift left the label last year and signed with Universal Music Group.
“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,” she wrote. "I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future.”
Swift claimed she learned of Braun’s acquisition of BMLG “as it was announced to the world” – but Cohen, for one, disputed this.
“Your dad is a shareholder and was notified,” Cohen fired back, “and Borchetta personally told you before this came out. So no, you didn’t find out with the world.”
In her Tumblr post, Swift accused Braun and his clients Bieber and Kanye West of bullying her online.
Bieber apologized Sunday for the “hurtful” post Swift referred to and took blame for it. “At the time i thought it was funny but looking back it was distasteful and insensitive,” he wrote.
Bieber said Braun has supported Swift for many years – something Cohen also claimed. “He has supported and stood up for you,” she wrote. “He has challenged his clients to be kind or be quiet … he has reached an olive branch out to you on numerous occasions.”
Swift called Braun’s ownership of her masters the “worst case scenario” and accused him of trying to “dismantle” her musical legacy.
“When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them. Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter,” wrote Swift. “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. In perpetuity. That means forever.”
Cohen countered that her husband was looking forward to working with Swift. “How embarrassing this temper tantrum is because you didn’t get your own way,” she wrote. “I sincerely hope you can learn to love and believe in yourself the way my husband does.”
Braun has not responded to Swift's comments. Borchetta reacted with a statement of his own on the BMLG website.
Donald Passman, a lawyer representing Swift, said in a statement: "Scott Borchetta never gave Taylor Swift an opportunity to purchase her masters, or the label, outright with a cheque in the way he is now apparently doing for others."
Coming to her defence, Halsey said Swift “deserves to own the painstaking labor of her heart.” She added: “I am standing with her.”
Read Swift's post and the reactions from Bieber and Cohen below:
Hey Taylor. First of all i would like to apologize for posting that hurtful instagram post, at the time i thought it was funny but looking back it was distasteful and insensitive.. I have to be honest though it was my caption and post that I screenshoted of scooter and Kanye that said “taylor swift what up” he didnt have anything to do with it and it wasnt even a part of the conversation in all actuality he was the person who told me not to joke like that.. Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you.! As the years have passed we haven’t crossed paths and gotten to communicate our differences, hurts or frustrations. So for you to take it to social media and get people to hate on scooter isn’t fair. What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? seems to me like it was to get sympathy u also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully scooter. Anyway, One thing i know is both scooter and i love you. I feel like the only way to resolve conflict is through communication. So banter back and fourth online i dont believe solves anything. I’m sure Scooter and i would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain or or any feelings that need to be addressed. Neither scooter or i have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you. I usually don’t rebuttal things like this but when you try and deface someone i loves character thats crossing a line..