Why conspiracy theories about Taylor Swift are spreading: NPR

Why conspiracy theories about Taylor Swift are spreading: NPR

Why conspiracy theories about Taylor Swift are spreading: NPR

Travis Kelce of the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs celebrates with Taylor Swift after a 17-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens within the AFC Championship Recreation on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore.

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Travis Kelce of the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs celebrates with Taylor Swift after a 17-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens within the AFC Championship Recreation on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore.

Patrick Smith/Getty Photos

Taylor Swift has been some of the dominant cultural figures of the previous yr, amongst them Billion dollar tour of the ages The accompanying movie, a slew of Grammy nominations, and a high-profile romance with Kansas Metropolis Chiefs quarterback Travis Kelce made her a staple of the Nationwide Soccer League season.

However Swift’s recognition has changed into a menace from a gaggle of far-right conservatives supporting Donald Trump, who’ve begun circulating conspiracy theories in regards to the singer, the Tremendous Bowl, and the 2024 election.

In the course of the Chiefs’ convention championship recreation in opposition to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Mike Crespi, a pro-Trump podcast host on the right-wing Salem Media Group, posted a rant claiming the NFL had “rigged” the Chiefs’ victory.

“All of it to unfold Democratic propaganda. We name it now: KC wins, goes to the Tremendous Bowl, Swift comes out on the halftime present and ‘endorses’ Joe Biden with Kelsey at midfield. It is all been sensible from day one,” Crespi wrote. X. (This would be the bosses IV Super Bowl appearance up to now 5 years.)

When the Chiefs pulled off a win, hypothesis ran rampant, casting Swift’s relationship with Kelce as a plot to tip the presidential contest in Biden’s favor.

“I’m wondering who’s going to win the Tremendous Bowl subsequent month. I’m wondering if there is a main presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally boosted couple this fall,” stated former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who has pushed debunked conspiracy theories about… January 6 uprisingthe 2020 electionsAnd 11/09he wrote on X, previously often called Twitter, on Monday.

Unsubstantiated claims about SWIFT’s alleged function as a authorities manufacturing facility have been circulating for a while. Final month, Fox Information host Jesse Watters speculated that Swift may be a “psychologist” on the Pentagon — an asset utilized in psychological operations.

“Is Swift a entrance for a secret political agenda?” Requested. Whereas he famous he had no proof, he pointed to Swift’s endorsement of Biden in 2020 and her current encouragement for followers to register to vote, which led to a rise in registrations. Pentagon He rejected Watters’ claim.

However the collision between the Tremendous Bowl and the contentious presidential race pushed right-wing backlash to new heights. a The New York Times a report This week, as Biden’s marketing campaign hopes Swift will endorse him once more this yr, provides gas to the hearth.

Influential right-wing figures have contributed, together with Jack Posobiec, who promoted the baseless Pizzagate conspiracy concept, and radio host Charlie Kirk. Conservative cable retailers devoted a number of segments to Swift, with Fox Information’ Jeanine Pirro urging her, “Do not become involved.” in politics. We do not need to see you there.”

Monetize curiosity

The technique of attacking a pop icon, in addition to a cultural establishment just like the NFL, could seem counterproductive, provided that each… Swift And soccer She may be very in style throughout the political spectrum.

Nevertheless, the job of many figures within the on-line Trump-supporting world is to draw consideration and monetize it, stated Joan Donovan, an assistant professor of journalism and rising media research at Boston College who research on-line discourse.

“It is a recreation for engagement. Should you take a look at the curiosity in Taylor Swift and the crossover with the NFL, you need to be a part of these conversations on-line,” Donovan stated.

Mentions of Swift on right-wing fringe web sites equivalent to Trump’s Fact Social have spiked up to now week, based on knowledge from Pyra Applied sciences, which tracks smaller platforms.

This is not the primary time Swift has been the goal of conspiracy theories and right-wing outrage.

For years, the singer has averted politics altogether, however her background in nation music has fueled hypothesis, with out proof, that she could also be a Republican and a Trump supporter. In 2016, Vice reported On the white supremacists who claimed Swift is an “Aryan goddess.”

Swift broke her political silence in 2018, endorsing the Democratic opponent of Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn, who… Swift called ‘Trump in a wig’ In her house state of Tennessee. She publicly helps LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter, and He condemned Trump In the course of the 2020 protests following the loss of life of George Floyd.

Her evolution from a superb teenager to a profitable, single businesswoman in her 30s was additionally a break from conservative beliefs of femininity, Donovan stated.

“Among the many proper, as a result of she’s getting older and would not have kids and so forth, she’s seen much less as conventional spouse materials,” she stated. “Basically, Taylor Swift represents older, unbiased ladies who do not want male assist to have a profession, to resolve their very own future.”

Not too long ago, her relationship with Kelce, the Chiefs’ tight finish, has exacerbated conservative criticism. Kelsey was additionally attacked by conservatives as a result of he did commercials Pfizer vaccines And bud gentle.

Consideration breeds abuse

The eye targeted on Swift is not simply attracting conspiracy theories. Additionally they entice abuse – particularly, the sort of abuse that disproportionately targets ladies on-line.

Final week, AI-generated sexually express photographs of Swift went viral on X and different social media websites, garnering tens of tens of millions of views. This incident has resurfaced the prevalence of non-consensual deep porn, an issue that has plagued not solely celebrities, but additionally odd ladies and ladies, for years.

“The aim of sexual abuse is to forged Taylor Swift on this gentle the place she is just not essentially a self-actualized one who makes her personal choices…and to place her on this sexist gentle is to insult her and undermine her authority,” stated Nina Yankovic, researcher and writer of the e book. Methods to be a lady on-line. “It is only a intercourse object, it is only a device for the Biden administration.”

Yanukovych herself has additionally been a sufferer of conspiracy theories and outright deepfakes. She stated she hopes consideration to current assaults on Swift will even spotlight the injury any such abuse has on individuals who do not have the sources of a worldwide star.

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