Taylor Swift addressed Scooter Braun directly during her acceptance speech for Billboard’s Woman of the Decade award Thursday evening, calling out the “unregulated world of private equity coming in and buying our music as if it’s real estate—as if it’s an app or a shoe line.” Swift has been fighting with Braun for months after he purchased the master rights to her first six albums and Big Machine, Swift’s former record label. “Let me just say that the definition of 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 right to own their music,” Swift said. “And of course he’s nice to you—if you’re in this room, you have something he needs.”
“The fact is that private equity enabled this man to think, according to his own social media post, that he could ‘buy me,’” she continued. “But I’m obviously not going willingly.” The feud between Swift and Braun became public when Swift wrote in a social media post that her plans to perform songs from her first six albums at the 2019 AMAs were being obstructed by Braun. Swift ended up performing her songs on the show, and Braun denied that she’d been prevented from performing them in an open letter, where he asked her to “speak directly and respectfully.” Swift’s speech marked her first public comments since performing at the AMAs.