Demi Lovato’s recent YouTube Originals docuseries, “Dancing With The Devil,” has brought attention to her journey with sobriety while navigating the music industry. During one episode of the series, she specifically mentions how her new management team, lead by music industry mogul Scooter Braun, has shifted her life in a healthier direction. She marvels at his personable approach to her as a client and continues to find comfort in his role that almost doubles as a confidant and family member. Lovato’s visible adoration for Braun prompted me to internally consider what we know about him.
Well, for starters, the 2011 production of Justin Bieber’s film “Never Say Never” was the first character portrait made of Braun in his entirety. The documentary describes Braun’s initial discovery of Bieber and how blind faith in the young pop star ultimately led to ‘Bieber-Fever’ across the nation. The film portrays Braun as Bieber’s devoted big brother figure who has big plans for his continued success in the industry. Braun is painted as a charitable manager, indicated by clips of him giving out free tickets to zealous fans, who capitalizes on the talents of young artists.
As Bieber’s career evolved, the narrative of Braun as a father figure has progressed further. When the pop-sensation got in trouble with the law and deviated from a traditional path of obedience, it was Braun who got the singer back on track. Aside from assisting in crafting Bieber’s new image to appeal to his fans and after bad behavior, Braun generated even more success by picking up more high-profile celebrities to add to his discography. Most notably, Ariana Grande signed with Braun, shifting the trajectory of her career. The professional marriage between Grande and Braun has gone relatively smoothly, except for a slight blip— Ariana Grande fired Braun in 2016, but has since rehired him.
Aside from Grande firing Braun in 2016, the big controversy surrounding the music mogul revolves around Taylor Swift. After her contract with Braun expired, Swift took to social media to expose the longstanding period of abuse she claimed he exercised over her. She reported that he took “tyrannical control” (Swift, Instagram) over her music, limiting her creativity and free-range as an artist. What does this reveal about Braun?
Well, it may suggest that his overall success with other artists mitigates the potential criticism he would get over his treatment of Taylor Swift. The idea that his oppressive narrative is shielded behind the success of his other popular clients could imply a bigger problem with the entertainment industry as a whole. While Swift’s assertions were given a platform on Instagram, her narrative was primarily ignored by the general public, who continue to support an alleged tyrant. This reveals how the entertainment industry serves as a hegemonic cultural regime that reinforces patriarchy where, unfortunately, white males often win.
Cover Photo: Fox News
Caroline Markman is an Entertainment writer at the Crescent. She is a junior majoring in Communications and double minoring in political science and sociology. Aside from writing from the Crescent, Caroline enjoys writing for a variety of other publications on Tulane's campus. On her free time, Caroline loves to travel and go for long walks.