Braun addressed the half-year-long music titan dispute with Swift, without referring to the pop star by name, at Variety’s 2019 Entertainment Industry Conference Thursday — a disagreement that has led to death threats received at his workplace.
“There’s a lot of things being said and a lot of different opinions, yet the principals haven’t had a chance to speak to each other; there’s a lot of confusion,” said Braun, alluding to Swift but declining to go into details.
“It’s just not my style. I just think we live in a time of toxic division and people thinking that social media is the appropriate place to air out on each other and not have conversations. I don’t like politicians doing it. I don’t like anybody doing it,” Braun said.
“If that means that I’ve got to be the bad guy longer, I’ll be the bad guy longer, but I’m not going to participate,” Braun added.
The industry heavyweight Braun made waves in late June when Swift accused him of “incessant, manipulative bullying” after the 38-year-old paid $300 million to acquire Big Machine Label Group – and, by extension, the masters of Swift’s music. In a lengthy Tumblr post, Swift called the deal her “worst case scenario.”
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Swift said she did not know Big Machine owner Scott Borchetta would sell her work to Braun, whom Swift wrote has bullied her for years.
Braun said he’d rather parley directly with Swift.
“People need to communicate, and when people are able to communicate, I think they work things out,” Braun said, blaming “miscommunications” for any problems.
“I believe that people are fundamentally good,” said Braun, who mentioned that issues “discussed behind closed doors (can be) figured out pretty easily, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for six months.”
Braun said the public debate has been difficult, even alluding to death threats from Swift fans.
“It’s hard, because I can handle it pretty easily, But when it gets to a place where there’s death threats and there’s offices being called and people being threatened, it’s gotten out of hand,” said Braun, “And I think people need to come together and have a conversation, because (the dispute) is not what we got in this industry for.”
One bright side to the dispute is that Braun says it had shown him who his friends are in the industry. Some “friends” turned their backs on him in tough times.
“When you get knocked down on some stuff, you get to find out who your real friends are real quick,” said Braun. “And watching some people in the industry who might smile in your face, and then suddenly you’ve got a little dent in the armor and they come trying to kick it in even more, it doesn’t bother me, but it lets me know where I stand.”
Despite it all, he said he doesn’t have any ill-will toward anybody, re-iterating his willingness and desire to talk directly to Swift.
“The moment people want to have a conversation with me, I’m ready to have that conversation,” he said. “I just want to fix things and set a better example for people.”
USA TODAY has reached out to Swift’s representatives for comment.