Taylor Swift holds a sign saying she would like to be excluded from this narrative

Andrea Austria / Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift is Time magazine's “Person of the Year” — now right-wing media are hurling sexist insults and suggesting that she’s secretly a Democratic operative

After Taylor Swift was named Time magazine’s 2023 “Person of Year,” right-wing media rushed to spread outlandish statements and conspiracy theories about the pop star, including suggesting Swift is a sleeper agent for the Democratic Party attempting to interfere with the 2024 presidential election.

  • As Swift was recognized by Time magazine, right-wing media piled on the singer once again

    • On December 6, Time announced Taylor Swift as the publication’s 2023 Person of the Year. Swift was chosen among a shortlist of the year’s major culture-driving figures such as Barbie, those prosecuting former President Donald Trump, and King Charles III. [Time magazine, 12/6/23, 12/4/23]
    • As a highly visible female celebrity, Swift has often been a target of ridicule by the right, often for sexist reasons. For example, a popular podcast from the Barstool Sports network decried Swift for attending NFL games in support of her boyfriend, football player Travis Kelce, and suggested that the couple should “release a sex video.” [Media Matters, 10/3/23; Business Insider, 11/9/23; The Nation, 10/17/23]
    • While Swift has released statements urging her fans to vote and backed LGBTQ and abortion rights, some critics have condemned Swift for her silence on other social causes. As The New Republic recently noted, “Swift is no stranger to conservative backlash, though there are countless celebrities who spend more effort specifically courting it. While political activism is part of her curated aesthetic, she hasn’t made any discernibly partisan political moves in quite a while.” [Twitter/X, 6/24/22; The New Republic, 9/29/23]
  • Conservative media figures suggested corporate media are using Swift to help Democrats win in 2024 and launched misogynistic attacks on Time’s choice to recognize her

    • Former Trump adviser and right-wing radio host Steve Bannon compared Swift to election denier and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, suggesting that Swift is a “powerful political force” for the left. According to Bannon, “Taking Mike Lindell out of Walmart was a monumental piece of the history of this political movement. Just like today, announcing Taylor Swift is Time's Person of the Year ... is another major political statement, because she's a powerful political force on their side, like Mike Lindell's a political force on this side. A cultural figure.” [Media Matters, 12/6/23]
    • An editorial in The Daily Caller lambasted Time for “no longer representing America” because of its Person of the Year pick. The piece argued that country singer Morgan Wallen, who infamously broke COVID protocols and used a racial slur, was more deserving of the title, undermining Swift’s accomplishments and arguing that “dating Travis Kelce is literally the only thing of note Swift has achieved in the last 12 months.” [The Daily Caller, 12/6/23; The New York Times, 1/20/22]
    • Far-right troll and “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec launched an absurd series of posts on X (formerly Twitter) accusing Swift of being “a statecraft asset for years” and predicting that “2024 will be the full payoff” for Democrats. In another post, Posobiec lamented, “Ye tried to warn us about the Taylor Swift psyop and we didn’t listen.” [Twitter/X, 12/6/23, 12/6/23]
    • Anti-Muslim bigot and failed GOP congressional candidate Laura Loomer presented a theory that the Democratic Party is “100% using Taylor Swift to try to get Democrats elected.” Loomer claimed that Swift “doesn’t care if everyone else suffers under inflation and can’t feed their kids as long as she gets to go shopping and attend her vaccinated boyfriends’ football games.” [Twitter/X, 12/6/23]
    • Right-wing podcast host Joey Mannarino posted that corporate media and the “Deep State” are “only making Taylor Swift the Time Person of the Year to help Joe Biden get elected in 2024.” The post also suggested that Swift will “run the Biden campaign going into the final days of the election” and stated that the media are building Swift’s public profile so that “she’s taken seriously by someone other than thirteen year old girls.” [Twitter/X, 12/6/23]
    • Breitbart attacked Swift as a “Left-Wing Pop Sensation” sharing her “unsolicited views” on issues like abortion and LGBTQ rights. The article also condemned Swift for advocating for youth voting and promoting the nonpartisan group Vote.org for its work attempting to dismantle voting restrictions in states like Georgia and Texas. The piece concluded, “Swift has rushed headlong into the welcoming arms of left-wing politics and woke activism for years.” [Breitbart.com, 12/6/23]
    • The Federalist writer Evita Duffy criticized Swift for prioritizing her career and mocked her as a “cat lady” and “girlboss” with “a lot of failed relationships where she blames the man every time.” Duffy also said that Swift is used by the left “when they need to pull out a big card and get the youth vote to go and vote for whatever candidate the Democrats are pushing.” [Real America’s Voice, Human Events with Jack Posobiec, 12/6/23]
    • BlazeTV hosts Glenn Beck and Stu Burguiere questioned why Time chose Swift instead of conservative “whistleblowers” who contributed to right-wing media narratives against presidential son Hunter Biden. [BlazeTV, The Glenn Beck Program, 12/6/23]
    • QAnon influencer Jordan Sather complained that Swift was named Time’s Person of the Year for “basically doing nothing” and predicted that she will be used as “a political pawn” and exploited alongside Kelce “for a political get-out-the-vote campaign.” Sather demeaned Swift as “weak-willed” and said that she “makes a wonderful useful idiot for the powers that be” to “pander to Gen Z” voters, concluding, “This is social engineering of our youth in action." [Gab, 12/6/23]
    • Pepe Lives Matter, another QAnon influencer, wrote, “Taylor Swift was named Time Person of the Year after she started dating Pfizer’s spokesperson in the most comically scripted relationship we’ve seen in years. There's no doubt in my mind that Swift is compromised by powerful forces.” The post continued, “We need to wake the next generation up to the occult forces colluding with their favorite celebrities.” [Telegram, 12/6/23]