by Tia Janowski
With Taylor Swifts recent breakup up from her long term boyfriend Joe Alywn, the announcement of Speak Now (Taylors version) and rumours of her dating The 1975 frontman, Matty Healy, Swifties have had a lot to say.
The past six years, Taylor Swift has been very vocal about her love for Joe Alwyn in her songs - causing a huge shock for many fans regarding the news of their split.
Swift has been known to have a difficult relationship with the media in the past due to the portrayal of her love life. Many fans were convinced her new romance was all media speculation. However, after pictures of the two holding hands confirmed the dating rumours, fans have begun to take the relationship seriously.
Whilst some fans are happy for the couple and Swifts newfound happiness in the public eye, many have taken to social media to express their upset due to Healy’s history surrounding political comments and behaviours.
In 2016, when there were previous rumours regarding the two dating, Healy told the Guardian: “If I had gone out with Taylor Swift, the first thing I would’ve [thought was] ‘fucking hell I am NOT being Taylor Swift’s boyfriend.’ You know, FUCK. THAT” and described it as emasculating.
Although he later told the Guardian that his comments came from a place of not wanting to come off second best in a clash of two big egos - which is still problematic.
Alongside this, Healy has been notoriously known for his behaviour both on stage and on Twitter. He’s made headlines for kissing fans, eating raw meat and drinking excessively at his shows.
Healy has been very open about his difficult history with alcohol and in 2017 he spent seven weeks at a rehab clinic.
Despite Healy being an outspoken activist by standing up for women’s reproductive rights on stage in Alabama, and expressing solidarity with black, Muslim and gay Americans following the election of Donald Trump in 2016, his other comments and behaviours create a sense of major hypocrisy.
In 2014, many accused him of being Islamophobic and misogynistic after he tweeted, “Isis are cutting little girls heads off and you want to challenge a non-religious, humanist perspective? I don’t understand the world at all”.
More recently, in February 2023, Healy received the most backlash after he appeared on the podcast, The Adam Friedland show.
In the episode, he mocked the rapper Ice Spice by speculating her race as Chinese, Hawaiian and Inuit and doing impression of these accents. Even describing the rapper as, “a chubby Chinese lady”.
This was followed by his comments that the podcast host has walked in on him getting off while watching “hardcore” porn on a site known for videos humiliating and abusing women of colour known as “Ghetto Gaggers”. The site focuses on white men degrading these women.
After much backlash, Healy acknowledged the controversy while on stage in New Zealand. He said that, “I just feel a bit bad and I’m kind of a bit sorry if I’ve offended you”. He then followed by saying that, “It’s not because I’m annoyed that me joking got construed. It’s because I don’t want Ice Spice to think I’m a dick. I love you, Ice Spice. I’m so sorry”.
It seems no statement has been made regarding Healy admitting to masturbating to the brutalization of Black women.
Despite being silent on political issues for the earlier part of her career, Swift began speaking up on global issues during the release of her Lover album, so many fans are disappointed that she’s decided to stay silent about Matty Healy’s comments.
In 2018, she endorsed Phil Bredesen, the Democratic candidate for Senate in her home state of Tennessee, and saidon Instagram that, “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent”.
We then saw her “YNTCD” music video make a major statement for the celebration of Pride month, featuring several members of the LGBTQ community including Ellen Degeneres and Todrick Hall.
Since then, she has used social media to discuss global issues but many fans have been upset that she doesn’t do this as regularly as she did during her “Lover era”. Although Swift is not an activist, many fans have pointed out that she has presented herself as someone willing to use her platform to stand up for marginalized communities and are now questioning the sincerity of her words as she often only speaks about topics that relate directly to her.
In response to the rumours and Taylors silence, a fan created an open letter asking Swift to address their romance and Matty Healy’s many controversies. The speak up now campaign requests that Swift gives “more than a simple apology” for the remarks made by Healy in the past. The statement asks Swift to use her “platform responsibly and intentionally” and “advocate for inclusivity, celebrate diversity and promote empathy and understanding.”
Within the statement, there is acknowledgement that she has the freedom to make her own choices whilst also stating that she should “challenge harmful ideologies and inspire followers to join in creating a more just and equitable world”.
However, not all fans agree with the open letter, seeing it as a manifestation of many fans ‘para social relationship’.
Although the general response towards Healy and Swifts relationship has been negative, many fans have acknowledged how much happier Swifts seem to be, with the artist telling the audience at her tour that, “I’ve never been this happy in all aspects of my life ever before. It is not just the tour. I just feel like my life finally makes sense.”
Only time will tell if fans will change their mind about the relationship but it’s safe to say that the rumours have definitely had a huge impact on how many fans feel about Taylor Swifts place in discussing important topics.
Edited by Emily Duff