Justin Bieber has waded into the Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun row, telling the Shake It Off singer that she has crossed a line by accusing the music manager of bullying.
Swift hit out at Bieber’s manager Braun on Tumblr, posting that the man who “bullied” her now owns her entire back catalogue.
Braun’s Ithaca Holdings is acquiring Big Machine Label Group, which released all of Swift’s previous work and owns her masters.
She moved labels to Universal in November, saying she did so to make sure she owned any future work, but has now blasted Braun in social media posts for his apparent bullying of her.
However, his client and friend Bieber has jumped to his defence on Instagram, posting a photo of his younger self with Swift and calling her actions unfair.
Bieber took responsibility for an Instagram post from 2016, where he had screenshotted a Facetime call between himself, Braun, and Kanye West and captioned it “What up Taylor Swift”.
It was a reference to a recording leaked by Kim Kardashian of a call between West and Swift over his Famous lyric in which he disses Swift, which she says he never ran by her but which Kardashian claimed they had discussed.
Bieber wrote: “First of all I would like to apologise 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 screenshotted of Scooter and Kanye that said ‘Taylor Swift what up’ he didn’t have anything to do with it and it wasn’t even a part of the conversation in all actuality he was the person who told me not to joke like that...”
Singer Bieber had plenty more to say in defence of his manager, making counter claims that Swift was leading her fans into bullying Braun.
He wrote: “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.”
Bieber added: “I usually don’t rebuttal things like this but when you try and deface someone I loves character thats crossing a line..”
In her original post about the Big Machine takeover, Swift wrote: “Some fun facts about today’s news: I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands 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. (See photo) 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.”
She says that she was offered a deal to earn her back catalogue back with one previous album for each new one released at the label, but chose to walk away.
Braun’s wife Yael Cohen also responded to the post to defend her husband, claiming that Swift’s father Scott Swift would have known about the sale as a shareholder - although he apparently opted out of the board meeting because there was a strict non-disclosure agreement and he didn’t want to have to withhold information from his daughter.
Cohen added: “And girl, who are you to talk about bullying? The world has watched you collect and drop friends like wilted flowers. My husband is anything but a bully, he’s spent his life standing up for people and causes he believes in...”