The Schmooze

Q & A: Justin Bieber's Jewish Father Figure Talks to the Forward

In a hostile world, where can frightened Jewish children find inspiration to be themselves? In the new Justin Bieber documentary, “Never Say Never,” according to Scott “Scooter” Braun, the 29-year-old manager of the world’s biggest post-adolescent pop star and a protagonist of the film. “There are kids who are picked on and deal with anti-Semitism,” Braun told the Forward’s Michael Kaminer by cellular phone between house-hunting visits in Los Angeles. “For them to watch this film and recognize someone in their culture — that’s why I feel so good about it.” “Never Say Never,” which documents the teen’s rise to fame and serves as a concert film, opened on February 11; Bieber is slated to play his first concert in Israel in April.

Michael Kaminer: Here’s how Justin’s mother, Pattie Mallette, described your first phone call in a 2009 New York Times profile: “I prayed, ‘God, you don’t want this Jewish kid to be Justin’s man, do you?… You could send me a Christian man, a Christian label!” How did you feel?

Scott Braun: That was completely taken out of context. If Pattie was anti-Semitic, she wouldn’t be like a sister to me, and she wouldn’t let me be a father-figure type in her son’s life. She’s a devout Christian, but she’s respectful of other people and other cultures.

You and your crew recite the Sh’ma before performances. What does the prayer mean to you — and to non-Jewish members of your team?

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Q & A: Justin Bieber's Jewish Father Figure Talks to the Forward

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