Taylor Swift took her beef with Scooter Braun offline on Thursday night as she accepted Billboard's Woman Of The Decade award. Over the past few months, Swift has issued two industry-shattering social media statements calling out Braun and Big Machine Records CEO Scott Borchetta, who recently joined forces when Braun purchased Big Machine along with all of Taylor Swift's work before she left the label. Swift has accused Braun of past bullying, and alleged in November that the two men were preventing her from both performing her old songs at the American Music Awards, as well as using them in her upcoming Netflix documentary. It's a war she continues to wage, but she gave perhaps her most cutting comments in last night's speech.
Much of her six-and-a-half-minute remarks were dedicated to uplifting other women like Lana Del Rey and 2019 Woman Of The Year, Billie Eilish. But in her reflection on the past decade, Swift also highlighted her own role in the industry.
"When this decade began I was 20 years old,” Swift said. “I saw that as a female in this industry, some people will always have the slightest reservations about you." She touched on the way people have questioned her success and the backlash against her as a person these past few years, but she had to address the elephant in the room.
“Lately there’s been a new shift that has affected me personally, and as your resident loud person, I feel like I need to bring it up," she said. "And that’s the unregulated world of private equity coming in and buying up our music as if it's real estate, or an app, or a shoe line.”
She reiterated her claim that the sale "happened to me without my approval, consultation or consent" and maintained that "Scooter [Braun] never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale."
“The definition of the toxic male privilege in our industry to say, 'Well, he’s always been nice to me'... Of course he’s nice to you; if you're in this room, you have something he needs,” she said, prompting somewhat of a hush in the audience, and cited an Instagram Story Braun reposted boasting that he bought Swift as an entity.
But this is a celebration, after all, and Swift ended her roast on a happy note.
"The most amazing thing was to discover that it would be the women in our industry who would have my back and show me the most vocal support at one of the most difficult times and I will never, ever forget it," she said as applause swelled. "Like, ever."
What better way to kick off a 30th birthday? Watch Swift's speech below.
Refinery29 has reached out to Braun for comment.