Taylor Swift launched a new app for her loyal fans last week and within days, it was overrun by fans of President Donald Trump, according to a new report from the Daily Beast.
Swift’s followers rushed to the app store, and by Monday, it was among the top trending apps, giving Swift fans a place on social media to see exclusive videos, use “Tay-mojis” and enjoy their own Swift-centric newsfeed. But the most popular feature, which allows supporters to meet each other and chat, has been dominated by right-wing trolls.
Many Swift fans already know each other and have met on Facebook and Twitter. They’ve formed a collective ready to respond to any criticism of their favorite star. While the singer’s followers have something in common with Swift, their political ideologies don’t mesh well. When the conversation turned to politics, they immediately began lobbing attacks at Hillary Clinton.
“Republicans and Trump supporters have just as much right to be here as everyone. There are people who voted for him or may vote Republican but didn’t vote for him. They may not agree with his beliefs but at least he supports our troops,” one fan wrote.
The comment spawned an argument in the comments section which soon saw Swift fans saying things like, “I just don’t accept gays lesbians and bisexuals."
The Swift Life: beomes a breeding ground for racist and homophobic swifties in the 3 days since its US-only release
— Na'ama (@Mind_Twist_You) December 16, 2017
In a separate comment, one user claims that her husband serving in the military is safer with Trump in office. Hillary has “done some things I don’t agree with when it comes to the safety of our troops… at the end of the day it came down to what I felt was best. There are people who voted for reasons other than Trump being a bigoted, sexist, homophobe,” she wrote in another post.
The backlash was swift.
Those who love Swift and Trump quickly flocked to her defense on social media to demand their freedom of speech be recognized.
“I downloaded Tay’s app and before you start criticising me I’m a trump supporter [sic],” one fan tweeted. “I don’t see why people talk politics in there???? Like helloooooo let’s talk about our fav. We should support Taylor and I’m so disappointed she didn’t have one million downloads a minute.”
The military wife ultimately deleted all of her posts about the president, before writing, “Speak now and forever hold your peace. Not on TSL. Speak now here and everyone jumps down your throat.”
“You don’t get to use ‘free speech’ as an excuse to be rude and hateful,” another fan responded.
Rumors spread of political posts being deleted by moderators while international Swift fans blasted Americans for “ruining the app” and “distracting from Taylor.”
The UK haven’t even got the swift life app yet and it’s already being destroyed by homophobes and trump supports I’m-
— Grace (@SwiftieRoisa) December 16, 2017
Upon logging in, the app demands users “help make this a safe and inclusive place for everyone to enjoy.” It also calls on patrons to report hate speech: “see anything inappropriate, including instances of bullying or harassment, please report it.”
Swift has previously made news for her refusal to speak out against neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the so-called alt-right. She has since become the darling of the far-right movement, although Swift has tried her best to remain politically neutral. But in 2016, Swift drew attacks from feminist supporters who alleged that she was using feminist ideals to sell records while secretly supporting a sexist candidate.
In a recent Yahoo interview, Swift's friend Todrick Hall shut down speculation that the pop star is a closeted Trump supporter.
“Yeah, many people have been tweeting me, ‘She supports Trump! She probably voted for Trump!'” he said. “They’re making this huge assumption, when Taylor has never to my knowledge come out and said anything about her being pro-Trump.”
He claimed Swift has been “a great person to me,” as a gay African-American.
“Her family has welcomed me into their home and treated me like I was a member of the family,” Hall said. “They’ve welcomed every single person I’ve ever brought around them. I’ve never felt like there was ever a moment that I couldn’t be myself, and talk about the fact that I’m gay or whatever.”
“Maybe one day, Taylor will start being super-political, and using her voice to do the things that people think that she should be doing,” he added. “But even then, she will probably be ridiculed for not being vocal enough, or not being on the right side.”
Left-leaning Swift fans attacked the pop star last week after she claimed she “couldn’t have asked for a better year," calling her comment “tone-deaf” to the horrors many people of color face in the Trump presidency.
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