Taylor Swift shakes off si­lence on trial

Singer is ready for the high-pro­file grop­ing case

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

AF­TER keep­ing a low pro­file for months, Taylor Swift has put her­self back in the spot­light in a bare bot­tom-grop­ing trial, whose po­ten­tial for em­bar­rass­ment many celebri­ties would do their best to avoid.

Yet Swift, one of the big­gest names in pop mu­sic, shows no signs of want­ing to shake off the at­ten­tion ac­com­pa­ny­ing a sex­ual as­sault trial un­der way this week in Colorado, de­spite scant sup­port from other fe­male stars.

In­stead of set­tling out of court, Swift, 27, took the stand and tes­ti­fied in the civil case against a for­mer Denver DJ.

The DJ, David Mueller, 55, sued Swift, claim­ing he lost his job af­ter she told his man­ager that he had grabbed her bare but­tocks dur­ing a meet-and-greet ses­sion in Denver four years ago. Mueller has said he is in­no­cent and did noth­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

Swift coun­ter­sued Mueller for as­sault and is seek­ing a sym­bolic $1 (R13.41) in dam­ages to make the point that “you can say no when some­one puts their hand on you”, her lawyer told the Denver court in open­ing state­ments.

Her typ­i­cal strat­egy has been to write “a nasty song about the per­son”, said Howard Brag­man, the founder of Hol­ly­wood PR firm Fif­teen Min­utes. “So clearly, she wants to make a point and she be­lieves she is in the right.”

“It’s wildly un­usual for some­one of her cal­i­bre to go through with one of these law­suits. Ninety-nine per­cent of the time they are set­tled,” said Brag­man.

He said tri­als are un­pre­dictable and can bring up ques­tions over peo­ple’s sex lives “and no celebrity wants to put them­selves up for that kind of sit­u­a­tion”.

Swift, who has 85 mil­lion Twit­ter and 102 mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers, has said in de­po­si­tions she wants the case to serve as an ex­am­ple to other women “who may re­sist pub­licly re­liv­ing sim­i­lar out­ra­geous and hu­mil­i­at­ing acts”.

Yet the coun­try-turned-pop star, who has a mixed track record on fem­i­nist is­sues, is not so far get­ting the sup­port she might ex­pect from her peers for tak­ing a stand.

In Jan­uary, Swift was ac­cused on so­cial me­dia and by fe­male com­men­ta­tors of be­ing an op­por­tunist fem­i­nist for not do­ing more to sup­port the mas­sive women’s marches across the US that brought the likes of Mi­ley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Madonna onto the streets. She did not re­spond.

De­spite do­nat­ing $250 000 to Ke­sha last year for her own sex­ual as­sault le­gal bat­tles, the Tik-Tok singer has been silent so far about Swift’s case.

Lady Gaga, who has spo­ken about be­ing raped when younger, has also said noth­ing, as has Madonna.

The Denver trial fol­lows a dif­fi­cult 12 months for the singer af­ter a much-ridiculed sum­mer fling last year with Bri­tish ac­tor Tom Hid­dle­ston. She also feuded with Kim Kar­dashian, Kanye West and Perry.

Pre­vi­ously ubiq­ui­tous on so­cial me­dia and red car­pets, Swift sub­se­quently dropped out of pub­lic view. A sin­gle tweet in May send­ing prayers to the vic­tims of the Manch­ester bomb­ing in Eng­land has been her only Twit­ter post­ing in more than six months. – Reuters

PICTURE: AP

Taylor Swift per­forms at the DirecTV Now Su­per Satur­day Night Con­cert in Hous­ton, Texas. The trial of a law­suit be­tween Swift and David Mueller, a for­mer ra­dio host she ac­cuses of grop­ing her, be­gan on Mon­day.

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