For a moment there, it seemed like Taylor Swift was finally done with seemingly endless feuds; she gave her final word on the decade-long saga that was her feud with Kanye West, and even made the symbolical gesture of baking cookies for Katy Perry. And yet, to the pleasure of absolutely no one, Swift’s nascent feud with Scooter Braun has no end in sight. Last Thursday, Swift publicly accused Braun and Scott Borchetta—who sold the label that Swift was originally signed to, Big Machine, along with the rights to the entirety of Swift’s pre-Lover catalogue to Braun, this past June—of banning her from performing any of of that catalogue at the upcoming American Music Awards, as well as using it in an upcoming Netflix documentary about her career. She ended her statement with a call to action: “Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this.”
Now, more than a full week later, Braun has finally decided to respond. On Friday morning, he addressed Swift via a lengthy open letter posted to Instagram, which included a screenshot of a DM from a user threatening to shoot Braun and his children.
“Since your public statement last week there have been numerous death threats directed at my family. This morning I spoke out publicly for the first time saying I wouldn’t participate in a social media war,” Braun began. But after his wife received a phone call threatening the safety of their children on Thursday night, four days after he alerted Swift’s attorney to the threats, Braun continued, he has decided to weigh in nonetheless.
“I am certain there is no situation ever worth jeopardizing anyone’s safety,” the letter continues. “I assume this was not your intention but it is important that you understand that your words carry a tremendous amount of weight and that your message can be interpreted by some in different ways.” He then went on broaden his focus to society at large: “We are living in a time of pointless violence and as a husband and father I am concerned.”
According to Braun, who said that he’s “open to ALL possibilities” that would allow them to move forward, he has attempted—and been rejected—to get in touch with Swift for six months, even with the help of several of her team members and their mutual friends. “It almost feels as if you have no interest in ever resolving the conflict,” he wrote. “At this point with safety becoming a concern I have no choice other than to publicly ask for us to come together and try to find a resolution. I have tried repeatedly through your representatives to achieve a solution but unfortunately here we are. This game of telephone isn’t working.”
While repeatedly stating that he is more than willing to “rectify the situation,” Braun also repeatedly aired his grievances with Swift. “To be frank I was shocked and disheartened to hear that my presence in the Big Machine deal caused you so much pain as the handful of times we have actually met I have always remembered them to be pleasant and respectful,” he said, adding that he is “frustrated with [her] accusations and respectfully disagree with many of [her] statements. The truth, according to Braun, is that he has spent his “entire career” advocating his belief that “no artist should ever feel cornered or bullied.”
Braun then leveled his own accusations at Swift, writing that he has “never and would never say” that Swift couldn’t or shouldn’t perform certain songs from her catalogue. “You do not need anyone’s permission to do so legally but I am stating it here clearly and publicly so there is no more debate or confusion,” he said. No doubt he’ll soon be hearing from Swift’s representative, Tree Paine, who issued a statement last week claiming that Borchetta had explicitly denied Swift’s requests to license her catalogue for both the Netflix documentary and performance at the AMAs. (She also claimed that Big Machine owes Swift $7.9 million in unpaid royalties, whereas Big Machine has claimed that Swift owes the label “millions of dollars and multiple assets.”)
Braun wrapped up by making like Borchetta in using the infamously Swift-associated word “narrative” against her, and squeezing in one last dig at Swift: “I’m right here, ready to speak directly and respectfully. But if you would prefer to make large public statements while refusing to work towards resolving things amicably then I just pray that nobody gets seriously hurt in the process.”
Swift has yet to publicly respond, and fans on Instagram have been relatively silent, thanks to Braun’s move to disable comments on the post. Unfortunately, it seems like this is still just the beginning of yet another dramatic saga—one that will no doubt see another development when Swift takes the stage on Sunday night at the AMAs.