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Music Industry Takes Sides After Scooter Braun Acquires Taylor Swift’s Masters

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  • Scooter Braun acquired Taylor Swift’s music catalog in a deal that Swift called “her worst case scenario.”
  • In a blog post, Swift said she did not learn of the purchase until the news broke Sunday morning and accused Braun of bullying her through artists he represents like Kanye West and Justin Bieber.
  • Celebrities like Halsey and Todrick Hall have taken Swift’s side and supported her for standing up for herself. 
  • While others, including Bieber, Demi Lovato, and Yael Cohen Braun, say Swift is attacking Braun without reason and is lying about her knowledge of the acquisition.

Prominent voices in the music industry are taking sides in a fued between Taylor Swift and music manager Scooter Braun after news broke that Braun now owns the pop stars’ masters.

On Sunday, it was announced that Braun’s Ithaca Holdings label would be acquiring Big Machine Label Group. Braun is the massive talent producer behind the likes of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Big Machine, which is run by Scott Borchetta, holds the majority of Swift’s catalog.

The “Reputation” singer switched over to Universal Records at the end of 2018. Everything after that, which currently includes two singles and an upcoming album, is in her hands there. The six other albums she has fully released to date, however, still belong to Big Machine, and now to Braun. 

After the news of this sale, Swift penned a letter on Tumblr addressing Braun, as well as her decision to leave Big Machine. 

“For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work,” Swift opened. “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.”

She added that she had only heard of the acquisition when it was announced to the public and said that Braun was behind “incessant, manipulative bullying” she had received for years. 

“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,” she said in reference to an Instagram photo Justin Bieber once posted. 

Photo Via taylorswift.tumblr.com.

Swift goes on to include another instance where she felt targeted by Braun.

“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.” 

“This is my worst case scenario,” Swift continued. “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.”

“When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them,” Swift said. “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.”

She closes the letter by saying she is happy her future music will be in her own control, but she does not want other young artists to make the same mistake she did. 

People Speak Out in Swift’s Defense

Like almost everything Swift does, this letter blew up and divided people. Everyone and their mother has made a statement, including Selena Gomez’s mother.

According to some reports, artists like Beyonce, Harry Styles, Brendon Urie, Joe Jonas, Nicki Minaj, Selena Gomez, and Rihanna, have all unfollowed Braun on social media in support of Swift.

“Bad at Love” singer Halsey wrote a message taking Swift’s side. “She deserves to own the painstaking labor of her heart,” she wrote. 

Performer Todrick Hall, who is a close friend of Swift’s, also posted several tweets about the issue. “I know from his own mouth that he is not a Swift fan,” Hall said. 

Model Martha Hunt, who made an appearance in Swift’s star-studded “Bad Blood” video also took the singer’s side.

The hashtag #WeStandWithTaylor began trending on Twitter. Several users used it to defend Swift and argued that she should be able to hold her masters. 

There is also a petition to allow the singer to re-release her old albums on her own. Reports say that it was signed by an account under the name “Katy Perry,” Swift’s long-term foe whom she recently made public amends with. 

Screenshot of Change.Org petition signature.

Artists Defend Scooter

Others, however, are siding with Braun. Bieber posted on Instagram apologizing for the photo that Swift referenced in her Tumblr letter and said Braun had nothing to do with it. 

“One thing i know is both scooter and i love you,” the “Sorry” singer added. “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.”

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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..

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Another one of Braun’s clients, singer Demi Lovato, wrote in his defense on her Instagram story.

“I have dealt with bad people in this industry and Scooter is not one of them,” the former Disney darling wrote. “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.” 

Yael Cohen Braun, Scooter Braun’s wife, also posted a lengthy Instagram post addressing the matter. 

“You were given the opportunity to own your masters, you passed. Interesting that the man you’re so ‘grossed out’ by believed in you more than you believe in yourself,” she wrote. 

Cohen Braun claimed that despite what Swift said in her letter, the singer had already learned about the acquisition. 

“Your dad is a shareholder and was notified,” she said. “And Borchetta personally told you before this came out. So no, you didn’t find out with the world.”

She also called out Swift’s bullying claims, and said her husband is “anything but a bully.”

“Beyond that it’s easy to see that the point of putting this out was to get people to bully him,” Cohen Braun wrote, flipping the conversation and accusing Swift of being mean-spirited. “You are supposed to be a role model, but continue to model bullying.”

“He’s a manger, not God. He cannot control the actions of other humans, even ones he manages,” she added. “What you haven’t seen is what happens behind closed doors, when he has supported and stood up for you.”

Scott Borchetta Responds

On Sunday night, Borchetta addressed the situation himself. He wrote a letter on Big Machine’s site where he also said Swift should have been in-the-know prior to the news breaking. 

He said that her father, Scott Swift, was invited to a shareholders call on June 25, where the purchase was announced. He also claimed that he sent Swift a text on Saturday night. 

“I guess it might somehow be possible that her dad Scott, 13 Management lawyer Jay Schaudies (who represented Scott Swift on the shareholder calls) or 13 Management executive and Big Machine LLC shareholder Frank Bell (who was on the shareholder calls) didn’t say anything to Taylor over the prior 5 days,” he wrote. “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”. 

He also said that before the songstress moved onto Universal Records, the deal he was working on with her at Big Machine would have involved her owning her masters. 

“100% of all Taylor Swift assets were to be transferred to her immediately upon signing the new agreement,” he said. 

He also included a photo of part of that contract. 

Source: Big Machine.

Representatives for Swift have denied that both she and her father knew about the deal ahead of time. 

“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,” a spokesperson for the singer told People Magazine

“Her dad did not join that call because he did not want to be required to withhold any information from his own 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.” 

Singer Iggy Azalea also tweeted about the logistics of sales like these, saying even if Swift and her father knew in the days leading up, they probably did not get a say in whether or not it happened.

See what others are saying: (People) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Billboard)

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Chris Pratt Criticized For Wearing Gadsden Flag T-Shirt

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  • Actor Chris Pratt was recently photographed wearing a t-shirt with a version of the Gadsden flag, featuring a coiled snake and the text “Don’t Tread On Me.”
  • After some social media users criticized the shirt and linked it to far-right ideologies, Yahoo published an article titled “Chris Pratt criticized for ‘white supremacist’ T-shirt.”
  • The link to white supremacy and far-right groups outraged many online, including big conservative voices like Ben Shapiro, who defended the symbol.
  • Yahoo has since changed the headline to “Chris Pratt criticized for T-shirt choice.”

Gadsden Flag T-Shirt 

Yahoo is facing backlash for publishing an article that linked actor Chris Pratt to white supremacy after he was spotted wearing a t-shirt with the Gadsden flag. 

The shirt in question features a coiled snake over an American flag with text that reads, “Don’t Tread On Me.” The coiled snake and text are from the Gadsden flag, which was created by American general Christopher Gadsden during the Revolutionary war.

On Monday, Vulture writer Hunter Harris posted a photo of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” star wearing the shirt. Then several social media users responded to the post expressing their disappointment with Pratt.

“Andy Dwyer would never wear a shirt emblazoned with a white supremacist dogwhistle. Chris Pratt is unequivocally the worst Chris,” one now-deleted tweet read. 

“That’s everyone’s fave, Chris Pratt, wearing a snake logo recently associated with lads from the Tea Party to the depths of 4chan.” read another. 

Yahoo Releases Story 

Yahoo Movies UK then picked up the story with the headline: “Chris Pratt criticized for ‘white supremacist’ T-shirt.”

“Although it is one of the symbols and flags used by the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, Metallica, as well as some libertarian groups, over the years the flag has been adopted by Far Right political groups like the Tea Party, as well as gun-toting supporters of the Second Amendment,” the article reads.

“It has therefore become a symbol of more conservative and far right individuals and, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the US, it also is ‘sometimes interpreted to convey racially-tinged messages in some contexts.’”

Many took issue with Yahoo’s report and its labeling of conservative groups. Others pointed out that the historical flag symbolizes freedom and liberty, not white supremacy. 

In 2016, The New Yorker published a piece titled “The Shifting Symbol of the Gadsden Flag,” that looked at how the flag has been used by “Tea Party enthusiasts, Second Amendment zealots—really anyone who gets riled up by the idea of government overreach.”

However, in the article, writer and historian Marc Leepson was quoted saying that the origins of “Don’t Tread On Me,”  were “completely, one hundred percent anti-British, and pro-revolution.” The report also notes that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said: “It is clear that the Gadsden Flag originated in the Revolutionary War in a non-racial context.”

Article Sparks Outrage

Many have since blasted Yahoo on Twitter, like conservative commentator Ben Shapiro and former NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch.

Some specifically criticized Yahoo for turning the outrage of a few commenters into a larger story.

Yahoo has since changed its headline to “Chris Pratt criticized for T-shirt choice.”

See what others are saying: (Yahoo) (Fox News) (Breitbart)

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Netflix Cuts Controversial Suicide Scene from ‘13 Reasons Why’ Season 1

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  • Netflix has removed a controversial and graphic suicide scene from its popular series “13 Reasons Why,” more than two years after the scene originally aired. 
  • The company and show creator said they made the decision after hearing concerns from medical experts.
  • The decision to re-edit the scene has been met with mixed reactions, with some praising the move, some saying it should have been done long ago, and others saying that it should have remained in the show because it is powerful and important to watch.

Netflix’s Announcement 

Netflix announced Monday that it has edited out a graphic suicide scene from the first season of “13 Reasons Why,” more than two years after it was released. 

The show, which centers on the suicide of a fictional teenager named Hannah Baker, stirred up controversy when it first aired in March of 2017. While many praised the show for raising awareness about suicide and bullying, others, including organizations like the National Association of School Psychologists and the Parents Television Council, accused Netflix of glorifying and romanticizing suicide to vulnerable teens.

Critics of the show found one scene that aired during the season 1 finale particularly upsetting because of its graphic depiction of Hannah taking her own life. 

“We’ve heard from many young people that 13 Reasons Why encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help — often for the first time,” Netflix said in a statement.

“As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we’ve been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we’ve decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one.”

Suicide Scene Re-edited 

The nearly three-minute-long scene aired about midway through the episode and showed Katherine Langford’s character Hannah looking at herself in the mirror before she was shown cutting her wrists in a bathtub. The camera held on Hannah during her graphic final moments before showing her parents finding her body. 

The re-edited scene now shows Hannah looking at herself in the mirror, then cuts directly to her parents finding her body in the bathroom. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Netflix will also monitor and issue take-downs for any pirated clips that feature the original scene.

“Our creative intent in portraying the ugly, painful reality of suicide in such graphic detail in Season 1 was to tell the truth about the horror of such an act, and make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it,” show creator Brian Yorkey said in a statement before also mentioning that concerns from experts helped him reach this decision. 

“No one scene is more important than the life of the show and its message that we must take better care of each other. We believe this edit will help the show do the most good for the most people while mitigating any risk for especially vulnerable young viewers,” he added.

Mixed Reactions 

The decision to re-edit the scene was met with support from the American Association of Suicidology, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American School Counselor Association, Dr. Helen Hsu from Stanford, advocacy group Mental Health America, the Trevor Project and Dr. Rebecca Hedrick from Cedars-Sinai, according to THR.

We support the decision to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from 13 Reasons Why. There has been much debate about the series in the medical community,” the groups said in a joint statement. “But this positive change will ensure that 13 Reasons Why continues to encourage open conversation about mental health and suicide prevention — while also mitigating the risk for the most vulnerable teenage viewers.”

However, the move was met with mixed reactions online, with some arguing that the scene was painful but powerful and should have remained in the show.

Meanwhile, others said the scene should have been cut from the series a long time ago.

If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US from the Crisis Text Line. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (NPR) (The Washington Post)

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Scarlett Johansson Clarifies “Politically Correct” Casting Comments After Backlash

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  • In a recent interview with As If magazine, Scarlett Johansson was quoted saying that she should “be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.”
  • Her comments reignited a debate on social media about Hollywood casting and diversity in the film industry.
  • After facing backlash, Johansson released a statement saying that her interview was “edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context.”

As If Cover Story 

Scarlett Johansson says her recent remarks about “political correctness” in casting were taken out of context after the comments sparked much backlash online. 

The actress was previously criticized for accepting the role of a transgender man in the film “Rub & Tug.” She stepped down from the role last summer amid calls for the character to be played by a trans actor instead.

Before that, Johansson also faced backlash for playing a Japanese character in “Ghost in the Shell,” which critics again argued should have been played by a Japanese actor. 

In a cover story for As If magazine published last week, Johansson discussed her viewpoints on the issue. Then different media outlets quoted selections of her comments from the interview.

Johansson was quoted saying: “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job.

“There are a lot of social lines being drawn now, and a lot of political correctness is being reflected in art,” she added.

“I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free of restrictions.”

Twitter Users React

Headlines about Johansson’s comments began circulating on Twitter, prompting many users to speak out.

Still, some users came to Johansson’s defense on the issue. Some specifically pointed to the reactions that appeared when Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.”

Johansson Clarifies Comments

Johansson released a statement on Sunday through her reps saying that the interview, as it’s been quoted, “has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context.”

She explained that the question she was answering was about the “confrontation between political correctness and art.”

“I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody, and art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness. That is the point I was making, albeit didn’t come across that way.”

“I recognize that in reality, there is a wide spread discrepancy amongst my industry that favors Caucasian, cis gendered actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to,” she added. “I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included.”

See what others are saying: (Fox News) (Entertainment Weekly) (The Hollywood Reporter

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