Taylor Swift has taken aim at “liars and dirty cheats” during a live performance amid her row with music manager Scooter Braun over the rights to her back catalogue.
The pop star claims Braun – whose clients include Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande – bullied for her years and said she felt “sad” and “grossed out” that he now owns her music after buying the label she was signed to.
In a rendition of her hit Shake It Off at Amazon’s Prime Day Concert in New York, Swift emphasised lyrics mid-way through the song and added a noticeably harder edge to her delivery.
“Just think, while you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and dirty, dirty cheats of the world, you could have been getting down to this sick beat,” she said.
While Swift did not mention Braun by name, the singer’s fans quickly drew their own conclusions on social media.
“You know Taylor was talking about Scooby…when she sang/screamed ‘liars and dirty, dirty cheats of the world’,” one wrote.
“The liars and the dirty, dirty cheats in the world….Scooter Braun, Taylor’s talking to you”, another tweeted.
Scott “Scooter” Braun’s Ithaca Holdings recently announced that it was acquiring Big Machine Label Group, which released all of Swift’s studio albums and owns her masters.
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The US singer left the label and signed with Universal Music Group in November, saying she knew that re-signing with Big Machine – which had managed her since she was 15 – would result in her not owning her future work.
She recently posted a picture of Braun on Instagram, writing in the caption: “This is Scooter Braun, bullying me on social media when I was at my lowest point. He’s about to own all the music I’ve ever made.”
Swift added that she was the victim of “incessant, manipulative bullying…at his hands for years”.
However, Bieber defended his manager in a post on Instagram which included an old photograph of himself and Swift.
“Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you!” he wrote.
“What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? seems to me like it was to get sympathy u also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully scooter.”
Braun’s wife, Yael Cohen, also posted on social media that her husband “is anything but a bully”.
At Amazon’s Prime Day Concert, Swift treated fans to a medley of old and new favourites, including Love Story, Welcome To New York and You Need To Calm Down, which will feature on her forthcoming album.
The concert at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom also featured performances from British star Dua Lipa and American singers SZA and Becky G.