- 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.
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.
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.”
View this post on Instagram
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..
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.
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)
2020 Oscar Nominations: Diversity Criticism, Snubs, and More
- This year’s Oscar nominations were announced, sparking new celebrations and criticisms over who was placed on and off the list.
- The academy is facing backlash for nominating just one Black actress, Cynthia Erivo, and not a single female in the Best Director category.
- Movie fans were also surprised to see no nominations for Jennifer Lopez, Awkwafina, and Lupita Noyong’o, among others.
Joker Earns Most Noms
The 92nd annual Oscar nominations were announced Monday with a wave of snubs and surprises that have movie lovers talking.
Issa Rae and John Cho revealed the chosen nominees for all 24 categories, with the controversial drama “Joker” picking up 11 nods – more than any other film this year. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “The Irishman,” and “1917,” followed closely behind with 10 nominations.
All four earned spots in the coveted Best Picture category along with “Little Women,” a tale of four sisters growing up in Massachusetts during the Civil War; “Marriage Story,” which focuses on a couple working through a tough divorce and custody battle; “Parasite,” a South Korean psychological thriller and dark comedy; “Jojo Rabbit,” the story of a young German boy who counts Hitler as an imaginary friend, and “Ford v Ferrari,” based on the true story of Ford working to make a faster car than Ferrari.
The success of “Parasite” marked a particularly significant moment of recognition as it is the first South Korean film to receive nominations for Best International Film and Best Picture. The film has been widely supported by the Asian American community and earned six total Oscar nods, tying with “Jojo Rabbit,” “Little Women,” and “Marriage Story.”
Oscars Pass on J.Lo
Perhaps the biggest snub this year was against Jennifer Lopez, who was favored as a Best Supporting Actress contender for her role as Ramona in “Hustlers.” After receiving nominations at the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, it seemed like J.Lo was a sure bet for an Oscars slot as well.
A surprise nomination in the category instead went to Kathy Bates, the sole nominee from “Richard Jewell.”
No Female Director Noms
Women were also completely absent in the Best Director category yet again, which was frustrating to many who felt “Little Women” director Greta Gerwig should have been an obvious contender
Nominees for the category include Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Bong Joon-ho, Sam Mendes, and Todd Phillips.
Both the Golden Globes and the Directors Guild of America awards shut out women directors in favor of male nominees, leading to widespread industry backlash. The Oscars’ decision has now, of course, added to that outrage.
As Deadline points out, the lack of women in the Best Director category is a sad Oscars tradition. Only five women have ever earned a nomination in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties), Jane Campion (The Piano), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) and Gerwig (Lady Bird).
In 2010, Bigelow became the first and only female director to win in the category.
#OscarsSoWhite and Other Notable Snubs
The academy is also once again being slammed with the hashtag “Oscars So White:” on social media after users pointed out that minorities were largely overlooked. British-Nigerian actress Cynthia Erivo, who appeared in “Harriet,” is the sole Black performer among the 20 actor nominees.
Jennifer Lopez’s snub sparked huge conversations about Latinx representation. Had she been nominated, Lopez would have been the first American Latinx actress singled out by the academy since Rosie Perez, who earned a best-supporting actress nomination in 1994 for “Fearless.”
Many were also surprised to see Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Noyong’o and Asian-American actress Awkwafina left out of this year’s Best Actress list, especially considering their success at precursor awards.
Nyong’o, winner of the most lead actress awards from critics organizations this awards season, received widespread praise for her two-sided role in Jordan Peele’s “Us,” meanwhile Awkwafina made history as the first woman of Asian descent to win a lead actress Golden Globe. The star acted in Lulu Wang’s dramedy “The Farewell,” which critics hailed as one of the best films of the year.
Eddie Murphy, who was just honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at Sunday night’s Critic’s Choice Awards, also did not earn a nod for “Dolemite Is My Name,” and music star Beyonce was not included in the Best Original Song category for “Spirit” from “The Lion King.”
Since previous backlash over diversity issues, the academy has worked to double female and minority membership by inviting more film professionals from overseas. While it has made some strides, even after four years of efforts, according to the New York Times, the organization is 68% male and 84% white.
The 92nd Academy Awards will be held Sunday, Feb. 9, airing on ABC as part of the network’s long-term agreement with the Academy. For the second year in a row, the Oscars will go on without a host, as it did last year after widespread backlash over Kevin Hart’s hiring and departure.
“Ford v Ferrari” (Fox)
“The Irishman” (Netflix)
“Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight)
“Joker” (Warner Bros.)
“Little Women” (Sony)
“Marriage Story” (Netflix)
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Sony)
Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”)
Todd Phillips (“Joker”)
Sam Mendes (“1917”)
Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”)
Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”)
Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”)
Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”)
Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”)
Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”)
Renee Zellweger (“Judy”)
Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”)
Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”)
Al Pacino (“The Irishman”)
Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”)
Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Kathy Bates, (“Richard Jewell”)
Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”)
Florence Pugh (“Little Women”)
Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”)
Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”)
Steve Zaillian (“The Irishman”)
Anthony McCarten (“The Two Popes”)
Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”)
Todd Phillips and Scott Silver (“Joker”)
Best Original Screenplay
Rian Johnson (“Knives Out”)
Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”)
Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“1917”)
Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won (“Parasite”)
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
“I Lost My Body”
“Toy Story 4”
International Feature Film
“Corpus Christi” (Portland)
“Honeyland” (North Macedonia)
“Pain and Glory” (Spain)
“Parasite” (South Korea)
“Edge of Democracy”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Best Costume Design
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Ford vs. Ferrari”
Makeup and Hairstyling
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” “Toy Story 4”
“I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” “Rocketman”
“I’m Standing With You,” “Breakthrough”
“Into the Unknown,” “Frozen 2”
“Stand Up,” “Harriet”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’
“Ford vs. Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Lion King”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
Documentary (Short Subject)
“In the Absence”
“Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone If You’re a Girl”
“Life Overtakes Me”
“St. Louis Superman”
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”
Short Film (Animated)
Short Film (Live Action)
“Nefta Football Club”
“The Neighbor’s Window”
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (The New York Times) (Variety)
Brazilian Judge Orders Netflix to Remove Special Featuring Gay Jesus
- A satirical Netflix Christmas special sparked outrage in Brazil for depicting Jesus as gay and Mary as a marijuana smoker, among another tongue in cheek storylines.
- A judge ordered Netflix to remove the film after a complaint from a conservative Catholic group, saying that keeping it up could cause more damage than suspending it would.
- The decision came after 2 million people signed a petition asking for Netflix to remove the program and after the comedy studio behind the film was attacked with Molotov cocktails.
A judge in Brazil ordered Netflix to remove a satirical Christmas special on Wednesday that has infuriated politicians and religious leaders across the country for its portrayal of a gay Jesus and weed-smoking Mary.
“The consequences of the dissemination and exhibition of ‘artistic production’ … are more likely to cause more serious and irreparable damage than its suspension,” Rio de Janeiro judge Benedicto Abicair wrote in his court ruling.
The appeal in favor of Don Bosco Center for Culture and Faith, a conservative Catholic institute, comes after weeks of escalating outrage over the project titled, “The First Temptation of Christ.”
The complaint argues that the film, which also depicts Mary having an affair with God and one of the three wise men bringing a prostitute to a party, “attacked the protection of religious freedom.”
It adds that “the level of disrespect, aggression and contempt for faith and the values of Catholics displayed in the film is unspeakable,” according to BBC Brazil.
However, despite the backlash, the cast and filmmakers of the sketch-comedy group Porta dos Fundos have defended the project. Porta dos Fundos co-founder, Fábio Porchat, said last year that Netflix has a right to stream the film and that it supports free speech. He also explained that the film never incites violence or tells people not to believe in God.
In his ruling, the judge called the case a “clear conflict” between two constitutional principles: the right to artistic expression and freedom of speech, and religious freedom and the protection of church and liturgy.
However, he agreed to order the program’s withdrawal, saying it is “more appropriate and beneficial, not only for the Christian community, but for the mostly Christian Brazilian society, until the merit of the offense is judged.”
The temporary order stands unless Netflix or the comedy group appeals and a higher court strikes it down.
The decision comes as a win for conservatives who have been fighting against the special for weeks. In December, over 2 million people signed a petition asking Netflix to remove it from the streaming platform.
On Christmas eve, a group of men attacked the Porta dos Fundos headquarters with Molotov cocktails. No one was injured during the incident and days later, a video circulated on social media featuring three men claiming responsibility.
The men said they carried out the attack on behalf of Brazil’s “integralists,” a 1930s-era ultranationalist movement inspired by Italian fascism. The video’s narrator, who used a digitally altered voice, said the group wanted to defend “all Brazilians against the blasphemous, bourgeois and anti-patriotic attitude” of the filmmakers, labling them as “militant Marxists.”
The comedy group condemned the violence on Twitter, writing that “love will prevail along with freedom of expression.”
At this time, it is unclear when and if Netflix plans to comply with the order or fight against it. Porta dos Fundos said Wednesday that it has not received any direction to remove the project yet, however, Netflix has complied with other government requests to take down movies in the past.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (BBC Brazil) (Time)
Camila Cabello Apologizes for Old Racist Tumblr Posts
- A Twitter user uncovered racist posts that singer Camila Cabello allegedly posted and reblogged on Tumblr in 2012 and 2013, when she would have been 15 or 16 years old.
- Some of these posts included the N-word, racist jokes made at the expense of Black, Asian, and Mexican people, as well as a joke about Rihanna being a victim of domestic violence.
- She apologized for these posts, saying that she was “uneducated and ignorant” at the time and that she will regret them forever.
Racist Posts Surface on Twitter
Singer Camila Cabello has apologized after a Twitter user uncovered old racist posts she allegedly shared on Tumblr several years ago.
The posts were made in 2012 and 2013 when Cabello was 15 and 16 years old. She posted and reblogged them onto a Tumblr account called “vous-etess-belle.” As the Twitter user who shared the posts pointed out, the profile picture appears to be of a young Cabello. On her confirmed Tumblr account, she also once said that “vous-etess-belle” belonged to her.
And here’s Camila on her main account admitting that vous-etess-belle is her account pic.twitter.com/S7hxMvPs6x— 🌉 || fan account (@motivatefenty) December 18, 2019
The thread started by saying, “exposing camila cabello‘s racist and downright disturbing tumblr reblogs: a thread.” The first post included in the thread was an original text post using the N-word.
Camila literally said the n word on her tumblr pic.twitter.com/95lUFxAQzs— 🌉 || fan account (@motivatefenty) December 17, 2019
The other posts had been reblogged on the account. Several of those also included the n-word.
this goes to show she knew exactly what she meant when she called her black bandmate the n word pic.twitter.com/lpKxa3FbCA— 🌉 || fan account (@motivatefenty) December 17, 2019
There were several other posts that referenced and made light of racist stereotypes.
She reblogged this extremely racist gif that stereotypes an African-American child pic.twitter.com/t33aEJ3GT1— 🌉 || fan account (@motivatefenty) December 17, 2019
Another racist post she reblogged pic.twitter.com/EppzifZnQm— 🌉 || fan account (@motivatefenty) December 17, 2019
Others made jokes at the expense of Black, Mexican, and Asian people.
she reblogged this racist text post pic.twitter.com/dubgjLkfbp— 🌉 || fan account (@motivatefenty) December 17, 2019
she also reblogged this xenophobic post pic.twitter.com/jOHsqCzlUh— 🌉 || fan account (@motivatefenty) December 17, 2019
Another controversial post was a meme making fun of the abuse Rihanna faced when dating Chris Brown.
here she is reblogging a post making fun of Rihanna being a victim of domestic abuse pic.twitter.com/9CBtGDl0FD— 🌉 || fan account (@motivatefenty) December 17, 2019
A post from her main Tumblr page was also included. In it, someone asked Cabello how to be a “strong independent” Black woman like her.
“Its not easy i guess its just something u have to work at,” she responded.
And this is from her main tumblr (waakeme-up) pic.twitter.com/eXIwlh6TT9— 🌉 || fan account (@motivatefenty) December 18, 2019
Reactions to Posts
This thread went viral, causing a lot of backlash online. Many called these posts out for being racist. A number of people also used the hashtag #CamilaCabelloIsOverParty to condemn the singer.
Some of her fans, however, came to her defense, arguing that she was young and has grown since this incident.
Man, she was 16 at thy time. She 22 now and she still apologizing still. She’s apologized so many times. You live and you learn from your mistakes. She learned that it was offencive please just let it go let her live.— Veah (@veahaluvv) December 19, 2019
But many also thought her age was not an excuse, arguing that a teenager should know better than to use racial slurs.
Others also said that many of the people forgiving Cabello were white. “How do you forgive words that weren’t directed at you…?” one user asked.
The “vous-etess-belle” account was taken down not long after the thread was posted. The URL now belongs to a fan of K-pop star Luna, who is using the page to promote the artist.
On Wednesday afternoon, the “Havana” singer took to Twitter and Instagram to apologize. She did not explicitly mention the thread or posts, but did say she was sorry for the language she once used.
“When I was younger, I used language that I’m deeply ashamed of and will regret forever,” she wrote. “I was uneducated and ignorant and once I became aware of the history and weight and the true meaning behind this hurtful language, I was deeply embarrassed I ever used it. I apologized then and I apologize now.”
“I’m 22 now, I’m an adult and I’ve grown and learned and am conscious and aware of the history and the pain it carries in a way I wasn’t before,” she added in the text post. “Those mistakes don’t represent the person I am or a person I’ve ever been. I only stand and have ever stood for love and inclusivity, and my heart has never, even then, had any ounce of hate or divisiveness.”