The latest installment in Taylor Swift versus her old record label is an Instagram story she posted on April 23, 2020. Swift writes that her former record label, Big Machine, is putting out an “‘album’ of live performances” and that the release is not approved by her.
Swift continues, “It looks to me like Scooter Braun and his financial backers, 23 Capital, Alex Soros and the Soros family and the Carlyle Group have seen the latest balance sheets and realized that paying $330 MILLION for my music wasn’t exactly a wise choice and they need money In my opinion… Just another case of shameless greed in the time of Coronavirus. So tasteless, but very transparent.”
Here’s the full text:
Many immediately raised alarm at her linking of the Soros family to “shameless greed in the time of Coronavirus,” as the Soros family is at the heart of many, many anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. (Here’s everything you need to know about George Soros conspiracy theories.)
What’s going on? Why is Taylor talking about the Soros family? Let’s get into it.
Wait, remind me of Taylor Swift’s drama with Scooter Braun?
Okay, first, if you need to catch up on her drama with Scooter Braun, please go here (which includes a fun reminder of the Kim Kardashian x Kanye West x Taylor Swift drama). TL;DR: Scooter Braun controls Taylor Swift’s masters. Swift despises him because of what went down with Kanye West and his song “Famous.”
What has happened since?
She released Lover (a great album IMO!!) under a new label. Related to this drama, Swift gave a speech about the sale of her masters during a Billboard’s Women in Music event in December 2019 when she was honored as “Woman of the Decade”:
Here are the relevant parts: “After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright, my entire catalog was sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in a deal that I’m told was funded by the Soros family, 23 Capital and that Carlyle Group. Yet, to this day, none of these investors have bothered to contact me or my team directly — to perform their due diligence on their investment. On their investment in me. To ask how I might feel about the new owner of my art, the music I wrote, the videos I created, photos of me, my handwriting, my album designs.”
“And of course, Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale or even when it was announced. I’m fairly certain he knew exactly how I would feel about it, though, and 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. 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.’ But I’m obviously not going willingly.”
So what just happened?
Well, Braun and Big Machine Records (Swift’s old record label) has decided to re-release some of her old performances.
Okay. What does Soros have to do with all of this?
That’s the question, right!?
“The Soros family,” as Swift has repeatedly said, was involved with the sale of her masters — as part of the financing that Scooter Braun got to purchase them. Specifically, she means Alex Soros, George Soros’s son, who is a big funder of liberal, Jewish causes. Alex Soros, according to his official bio, is the founding chair of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, and sits on the boards of Central European University, Global Witness, the International Crisis Group, and Libraries Without Borders, among other organizations. He’s also the founder of The Alexander Soros Foundation, an organization that gives out an annual award to activists “working at the nexus of environmentalism and human rights.”
Alex Soros is pals with Scooter Braun, and likely invested in his friend’s project.
Back up. What are the conspiracy theories around Soros?
Since George Soros — and by extension his son, Alex — is a left-leaning donor in the United States (and Europe and Israel), he’s been targeted in right-wing conspiracy theories. (Here’s a great timeline.)
In a Business Insider article from 2017, Soros’s status as a favorite target of the far right is explained: “To the left, he’s a rich guy openly supporting causes many liberals believe in. But to some on the far right, he’s more sinister and nefarious, despite a lack of evidence. For two decades, some have seen Soros as a kind of puppet master secretly controlling the global economy and politics.” (This can be traced back to the 1992 Black Wednesday, when Soros bet against the British pound and earned over a billion dollars.)
These are inherently anti-Semitic. As the ADL wrote in a October 2018 report on anti-Semitism and George Soros, “A person who promotes a Soros conspiracy theory may not intend to promulgate anti-Semitism. But Soros’ Jewish identity is so well-known that in many cases it is hard not to infer that meaning. This is especially true when Soros-related conspiracy theories include other well-worn anti-Semitic tropes such as control of the media or banks; references to undermining societies or destabilizing countries; or language that hearkens back to the medieval blood libels and the characterization of Jews as evil, demonic, or agents of the antichrist.”
Okay, so what do people think about Taylor Swift calling out Alex Soros and his family?
Well, Swift has had an issue with neo-Nazi supporters before — because, yes, she has/had neo-Nazi and white supremacist fans. (When she endorsed a Democrat in the 2018 midterms, neo-Nazi fans of Swift blamed the Jews.)
Yet, recently, she has been more vocal about her support for liberal causes. So, when she decided to call out Soros — which signaled to many an anti-Semitic dogwhistle — many were confused. Especially because linking the Soros family to “shameless greed in the time of Coronavirus” draws on those anti-Semitic tropes we were discussing above. (Also, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists are already blaming Soros for the coronavirus.) (Also, side note, why bring in coronavirus, Taylor?!)
Genuinely hilarious that Taylor Swift commissioned a documentary crew to record her evolution towards — with high dudgeon! — endorsing a Democrat who lost, and then got bored in quar three months later and mobilized her stans against “the Soros family.”
— Daniel D'Addario (@DPD_) April 24, 2020
Taylor Swift, the woman who’s worshipped by neo-nazis and named her documentary “Miss Americana”, posted a literal conspiracy theory about the Soros family on her insta story. What in the actual fuck
— Amber 🏳️🌈 (@thebetchdeltest) April 24, 2020
I’m sorry I can only pay attention to one thing at a time and that’s going to be Taylor Swift going after “the soros family”
— Matthew Zeitlin (@MattZeitlin) April 24, 2020
Right wing nut jobs Taylor Swift
— Nathaniel Heller (@FiveXT) April 23, 2020
Really excited that emotional unstable Taylor Swift stans are gonna be talking about a George Soros conspiracy against her.
— Aharon H R (@hbuckminster) April 23, 2020
Are people overreacting? Is she really being anti-Semitic?
Well, there are others applauding her for going against the Soros family. So even if Swift was just calling out all those who bought her masters — which she has every right to do! — anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists have latched onto her comments. Which, honestly, she should have seen coming. Or her PR people should have seem coming!
We’re going to screenshot these because we don’t want to give anti-Semites more engagement, but you can click on them to go to the real tweet:
Applauding Taylor for saying “follow the money,” and using globe emojis — globalists, Jews, etc. It’s bad!
“If anyone can take down the Soros family, it is our girl”:
Whoa, Matt, this is anti-Semitic!
It keeps going. We’ll spare you.
Taylor Swift is still very upset (rightfully so!) that Scooter Braun purchased her masters. But she did not have to namecheck Soros, or the Soros family, which has unleashed an anti-Semitic can of worms/trolls.
Header image of Taylor Swift by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic.