After speculation about manager Scooter Braun online amid reports that his highest-profile clients Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and more had left him or were trying to, Puck News offered up the first in-depth report about why.
According to the outlet, Braun had become less present as a manager with his bigger role as HYBE America’s CEO, and for Ariana in particular, he could not be bothered to leave his vacation to help her team manage the news rollout and tabloid coverage of her relationship with Wicked co-star Ethan Slater. Slater, of course, just filed for divorce from his partner of 10 years and wife of four, Lilly Jay. Ariana is separated from her husband of two years Dalton Gomez.
Jay spoke on the record to Page Six about how Ariana is “the story, really. Not a girl’s girl. My family is just collateral damage.” It was not a good week of press or social media commentary for Ariana, with outlets and fans alike pointing out her dating history and its parallels to her song “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored.”
Matthew Belloni, who broke the news of Ariana dropping Scooter as her manager, wrote for Puck News that “Grande’s team wanted her longtime manager, Scooter Braun, to fly to New York from a vacation in Europe to help put out the fires. Braun, who has cultivated an A-list client roster by being the guy who can counsel his artists through scandal—despite, or possibly because of, his own outsized and often shameless public persona—declined to make the trip. That answer took at least one person on Grande’s team by surprise. ‘I deserve a vacation,’ Braun is said to have told them.”
A source close to Ariana told the reporter that her choice to seek new management wasn’t sudden at all. “This decision has been a long time coming and was well thought-out by Ariana,” the source said. Sources told Matthew that Ariana had privately fired Scooter “a few other times” beyond the 2016 hiring and rehiring that received media coverage.
Ariana is still “contractually bound” to Scooter, Puck News reported, but her lawyers are figuring out ways for her to move forward without Scooter as her manager.
A source also explained Ariana’s decision to People. “They are friendly but she’s outgrown him and is excited to go in a different direction,” the source said. “Yes, there are negotiations happening because of contracts. But this is her choice. It’s time for something new.”
This isn’t the first time Scooter and Ariana’s relationship has been covered in recent years. A source spoke to Us Weekly in 2019 about why Ariana fired Scooter in 2016, and his tendency to get too involved in her personal life.
“He definitely gets involved in his clients’ business and personal relationships. At one point, Ariana fired him because she had had it,” the source said.
Scooter spoke to Variety in 2018 about Ariana firing him—and took a jab at her boyfriend choice then, “With Ariana, I could have said a lot of stuff, and in fact my team wanted me to, because they were pissed. But I said ‘We’re not gonna say a word, and this is gonna come back around.’ They were like, ‘Never take her back!,’ but I just said ‘Let’s stay quiet and let our truth be our actions.’
“And when shitty boyfriends leave, she starts to see the light on some stuff, and one day I got a phone call. She said ‘Can I see you tomorrow?’ and I said, ‘No, I’m busy’—I actually couldn’t, so I said ‘I could see you Thursday’ or whatever and I went over there and we had a very honest conversation.”
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