Taylor Swift won Billboard’s first-ever Woman of the Decade honor Thursday night and did not hold back in her speech.
Swift once again called out Scooter Braun and his defenders for upholding the “definition of toxic male privilege.” She and Braun have been involved in a public dispute over his recent ownership of her master recordings from 2006 to 2017.
In her speech, Swift touched on inspiring female artists like Lana Del Rey, public scrutiny, and a practice she believes is an issue in the music industry — “the unregulated world of private equity coming in and people buying up our music as if it’s real estate,” she said.
“This just happened to me without my approval, consultation, or consent,” she said, referring to Braun buying her back catalog recently. “Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale,” she claimed, adding that she was denied the opportunity to buy her music outright.
As for Braun’s defenders, Swift said: “The definition of the toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying, ‘But he’s always been nice to me,’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists and their rights to own their music. Of course [Braun’s] nice to you. If you are in this room, you have something he needs.”
Despite her problems with Braun, Swift said she’s grateful for the women who have supported her: “Yet, 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. I will never ever forget it. Like, ever.”
Back in June, Swift expressed outrage that Braun had bought the rights to her masters when he acquired Big Machine Label Group, which owns the rights to her first six albums. Posting on her Tumblr page, Swift called Braun’s acquisition of her masters the “worst-case scenario” and said the news made her “sad and grossed out.” The news led to an extensive back-and-forth between Swift and her team and Braun, his wife, and other supporters.
Braun has stayed mostly quiet throughout the ordeal, save for an Instagram post in November. Alleging that he and his family have received “numerous death threats,” Braun pleaded with Swift to “come together and try to find a resolution.”