Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dale Carnegie Would Have Lauded Scooter Braun

In January 2011, an anonymous tipster called TMZ, offering to sell a compromising video of Justin Bieber. At the time, Bieber was 15 years old and about to star in a bio-pic, Never Say Never.

The caller emailed a teaser from the video that reached Diana Dasrath,TMZ’s “clips-clearance manager.” The teaser showed Bieber, sitting alone in a room, singing his hit “One Less Lonely Girl” a cappella. In place of the usual lyrics, Bieber had substituted “nigger” for “girl.” He giggled as he sang, “There’ll be one less lonely nigger” and “If I kill you, I’ll be part of the K.K.K.”

That afternoon, TMZ contacted Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, for comment. In a phone conversation, Braun pleaded with TMZ honcho, Harvey Levin, not to post the video, saying, “You’re going to ruin this kid’s life.” Levin hesitated for four seconds, then said that he was moving ahead, and that he would need a statement from Braun by the morning. “Harvey, whatever those four seconds were—whatever that place is—that’s the place that I want you to go back to,” Braun said. He and other members of Bieber’s team stayed up all night crafting a statement.

In the morning, Braun and Levin spoke again. Levin confided that he’d been unable to sleep. “A lot of people call me and tell me I’m an asshole—they say, ‘Fuck you,’ ” Levin said. “You didn’t. I’m not putting the video up.” Braun broke down in tears. Bieber later called Levin and thanked him.

The Digital Dirt