"When you try and deface someone I love's character that's crossing a line."

By Mike Miller
June 30, 2019 at 09:46 PM EDT
Leon Bennett/FilmMagic; GC Images

Justin Bieber says Taylor Swift has “crossed a line” after she bashed Scooter Braun, his longtime manager and friend, on social media on Sunday.

Following the news that Swift’s master recordings from her 2006 self-titled debut through to her previous album, 2017’s Reputationwould be sold to Braun, the singer-songwriter shared a post on her Tumblr page, expressing how “sad and grossed out” the news made her feel. Swift noted a sense of betrayal at her music being sold to Braun, a man she alleges perpetrated “incessant, manipulative bullying” against her for years. 

After first apologizing for posting a “distasteful and insensitive” Instagram diss aimed at Swift years earlier, Bieber discounted her accusations. “Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you!” he wrote.

“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,” he continued. “What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? Seems to me like it was to get sympathy [you] also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully Scooter.”

He concluded his post by saying that he and Braun both “love” Swift, but wish she had aired her grievances offline. “I feel like the only way to resolve conflict is through communication. So banter back and forth online I dont believe solves anything,” he wrote. “I’m sure Scooter and I would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain 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 love’s character that’s crossing a line.”

Bieber’s wife, Hailey, replied to the post, calling her husband a “gentleman.”

The drama began earlier on Sunday when Billboard reported that Swift’s former label, Big Machine Label Group, closed a deal to be acquired by Braun’s Ithaca Holdings. Big Machine owns all of Swift’s master recordings from her 2006 to 2017.

“For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work,” Swift wrote on Tumblr following the news. “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, 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 said she was given no advance warning of the news. “All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years,” she wrote. “Like when Kim Kardashian orchestrated an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call to be leaked and then Scooter got his two clients together to bully me online about it. Or when his client, Kanye West, organized a revenge porn music video which strips my body naked. 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.”

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

She went on to call out powerful men in the music industry who she claims don’t value or respect artists. “This is my worst case scenario,” she wrote. “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.”

Swift also called out Scott Borchetta, the founder of Big Machine, for selling her catalog to a man he knew she had a negative history with. “When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them,” she wrote. “Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter. 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.”

Representatives for Braun and Big Machine did not immediately answer to EW’s request for comment, however, Big Machine did respond later on Sunday to Swift’s allegations in a lengthy blog post, which included screenshots of deal memos allegedly sent between November 2018 and June 2019. In the post, which can be read in full here, Borchetta seems to refuse Swift’s allegation that she was unable to buy back the rights to her master recordings.

Braun’s wife, Yael, also pushed back on many of Swift’s complaints on Instagram. “You were given the opportunity to own your masters, you passed,” she alleged. Yael also claimed Swift was given advanced notice of the news. “Your dad is a shareholder and was notified, and Borchetta [the CEO of Big Machine] personally told you before this came out. So no, you didn’t find out with the world,” she writes. Read her full post below:

Later Sunday night, Swift’s rep refuted claims that the singer’s father is on the Big Machine board of directors and received advanced notice of the deal. “Scott Swift is not on the board of directors and has never been,” the rep told People. “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.” The rep went on to explain that Taylor’s dad skipped the call so he wouldn’t have to withhold info from his daughter. “Taylor 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,” the rep added.

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