It is fair to say that pop culture enthusiasts everywhere have been left on tenterhooks this week amid music manager Scooter Braun’s mass exodus of A-list artists.
Scooter shot to prominence when he discovered Justin Bieber via a YouTube video back in 2007, when Justin was just 13 years old.
In the years since, the industry juggernaut has built a huge roster of celebrity clients for himself, including Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato.
But there have been signs of unrest within Scooter's empire in recent days, with it being reported last week that Justin is "poking around for a new agency or manager," and that he hasn't spoken to Scooter in "months."
This claim, which first appeared in Puck News, was quickly denied by reps for both stars, but more revelations have since come to light. On Monday, it was revealed that Demi had left SB Projects last month and is "seeking new management," and then Billboard reported that Ariana had also parted ways with Scooter after a decade of working with him.
Hollywood Reporter later published a story that revealed Idina Menzel hasn't worked with Scooter since January.
While Variety has reported that Scooter is simply taking a step back from management to focus on being CEO, a separate insider told the same publication that we might be hearing some "unsavory revelations" about Scooter in the coming weeks.
They added: "He’s imploding. It’s a different world since the pandemic. You just can’t be an asshole like that anymore.”
And whatever is going on with Scooter, it's impossible to ignore the timing of it all. After all, news of Ariana and Demi seemingly jumping ship came exactly six years after Taylor Swift first started teasing her Reputation era.
In case you somehow didn't know, Scooter's biggest claim to fame after discovering Justin is arguably his yearslong feud with Taylor, which started in 2016
Basically, Scooter was Kanye West's manager during the rapper and Taylor’s "Famous" scandal, which resulted in the singer being exiled from the public eye and branded a "snake" after Kanye's then-wife, Kim Kardashian, leaked a private phonecall.
At the peak of Taylor’s downfall, Justin posted a now-deleted screenshot from a FaceTime call with Scooter and Kanye to his Instagram page alongside the goading caption: "Taylor swift what up."
Thankfully, Taylor ultimately ended up bouncing back from her very public fall from grace, and she enjoyed a triumphant return to the spotlight in 2017 with her sixth album Reputation, which included several references to what had gone down the previous year.
But the situation with Scooter worsened in 2019 when Taylor's old manager, Scott Borchetta, sold his Big Machine record label to Scooter — along with the masters to Taylor's first six albums.
Taylor called this move her "worst nightmare" at the time, and accused Scooter of stripping her of her life's work that she said she "wasn't given the opportunity to buy." In an open letter that was posted to her Tumblr page, Taylor wrote: "Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to."
Scooter has since insisted that he wished he'd approached things differently when acquiring the rights to Taylor's past music, and said that he was "under a very strict NDA" with Scott that prevented him from speaking to any of Big Machine's artists before the deal had gone through.
In 2021, he insisted to Variety that his feud with Taylor is "not based on anything factual," and that he had asked her to meet with him "several times, but she refused."
Meanwhile, Taylor is known to seek inspiration from her personal life when writing music, and over the years she is thought to have referenced the drama with Scott and Scooter multiple times in her songs.
While lyrical interpretation is, of course, subjective, tracks such as "It's Time To Go," "My Tears Ricochet," and "Mad Woman" all have obvious parallels with the sense of betrayal that Taylor has said that she felt when her masters were sold to her "nemesis."
And this theme continued on Taylor's 2022 album Midnights, which came out in October having been inspired by "sleepless nights" across Taylor's life — which she said included nights where she would stay awake "fantasizing over revenge."
The vengeance theme is at its most apparent in the song "Vigilante Shit," which many interpreted to be inspired by a combination of all of Taylor's high-profile enemies, including Scooter, Scott, and Kimye.
At one point, Taylor teases that she provided evidence against someone to their wife in an "envelope," and later in the song she warns: "Someone told his white collar crimes to the FBI."
Taylor also addresses her rivals in the song "Karma," which calls people out for their "betrayal" and accuses them of "talking shit." The crux of this song is that Taylor isn't worried about karma because she keeps her "side of the street clean," but the same can seemingly not be said for the inspiration behind it.
Since its release, there has been a fan theory that "Karma" is, at least in part, inspired by Scooter — particularly the line: "Spider-boy, king of thieves / Weave your little webs of opacity," with it being pointed out that "spider-boy" has the same first initials as both Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta.
But now that Scooter's professional life is dominating the headlines, one Swifitie has had another look at "Karma’s" chorus and taken to TikTok to present her theory that the entire thing is "Scooter Braun coded."
TikToker @taylor__talk said in a video: "Spider-boy, king of thieves, so, it could be about Scott Borchetta but it could be about Scooter Braun. Let's talk about Scooter Braun's two biggest artists, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber."
She then broke down how the chorus is full of references to both musicians.
"'Karma is my boyfriend,' 'Boyfriend' is a song by Justin Bieber," the TikToker went on. "'Karma is a god,' 'God Is A Woman' is a song by Ariana Grande. 'Karma is the breeze in my hair,' literally 'My Hair' is a song by Ariana Grande."
But perhaps the most eyebrow-raising coincidence is the next section. "'Sweet like justice,'" the TikToker quoted. "Sweetener is arguably Ariana Grande's best album, Justice is arguably Justin Bieber's best album."
Although not mentioned in the TikTok, the "Karma" lyrics "Sweet like honey / Karma is a cat," also have links to Ariana, who first shot to fame playing Cat Valentine in Sam & Cat, and called her 2015 tour "The Honeymoon Tour."
Needless to say, @taylor__talk's theory left many viewers convinced, with one person commenting: "THIS IS SUCH A GOOD CATCH!!!! I never noticed anything other than spider boy!!!! omggggg you’re so so so so right."
Another pointed out: "Justin bieber also has a song called love me 'purring in my lap coz it loves me', and maybe 'relaxing thought' is daydreaming Ariana grande?"
"OMG?!! you're def onto something frfr," one more wrote. Someone else added: "The way my jaw dropped."
Another simply wrote: "This makes so much sense!!! 😳"
Taylor has not publicly commented on Scooter's current situation, but on Tuesday he took to social media to seemingly make light of the reports by tweeting: "Breaking news… I’m no longer managing myself."
Breaking news… I’m no longer managing myself
— Scott “Scooter” Braun (@scooterbraun) August 22, 2023
Twitter @scooterbraun / Via Twitter: @scooterbraun
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