Sunday 18 March 2018

Kim's expertly timed teardown of Taylor

The Kardashian-Wests played the waiting game, says Sarah Caden, and found the perfect moment to take down Taylor Swift

Swift Nosedive: Tide started to turn against Taylor in May, after her split with Calvin Harris. Photo: Getty
Swift Nosedive: Tide started to turn against Taylor in May, after her split with Calvin Harris. Photo: Getty

Sarah Caden

In 2009, Taylor Swift won the Best Female Video award at the MTV Video Music Awards. She was 19. Swift was just starting to make a crossover from country to pop, having begun writing songs at the age of five and releasing her first country album at 16. There was something still a little gawky about her, despite her already great success and that's really why what Kanye West did was a mistake. For him.

While Swift made her acceptance speech, West invaded the stage and took the microphone from her. "Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you and I'mma let you finish," he said, "but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time."

It was pretty stupid, and Swift stood there, seeming to shrink as she watched him. He humiliated a kid and later, Beyonce invited Swift back on stage to finish her speech.

Kanye came out of it badly, not just because he was boorish, but because Swift was a kid. You don't attack a kid.

But hey, seven years later, now that she's all grown up, Kanye, with his wife Kim Kardashian, are leading a full-scale teardown of Taylor. And, funnily, there are few and far between jumping to her defence this time. They have played a long game on this one, and they seem to be winning. Because it is a war, now, what started as a silly stage-bombing spat.

It's not just that Swift's niceness has started to get on people's nerves, it's that her need to carefully control her nice image has gone too far. In the case of Kanye, it would seem that she has not been totally, 100pc truthful - even if she's in the right. Further, it's now emerging that there are others who feel ill-used by Swift as she has made her dizzying climb to the top of the music business.

In February, the grumbling-along tension between Swift and the Kardashian-Wests took a new form. Swift and West became involved in a he-said-she-said spat over lyrics in his track Famous: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that bitch famous."

He said she gave her blessing. She says she did not. At this year's Grammys, she said: "I want to say to all the young women out there - there are going to be people along the way who are going to try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame."

Kanye didn't like that, and continued to insist not only that Swift had approved the lyrics, but that it was all her idea. It was back and forth until last week, when Kim posted on Snapchat a video of West on the phone to Swift, asking for her approval of said lyrics. Or, as Swift has been saying since, just the sleeping with her bit, not the bitch bit. And, obviously, it was the bitch bit she objected to.

It sounds inconsequential. You could suggest that Swift should just let it go, but it seems that she can't. She can't concede. She can't be made to look like a liar or anything less than the golden girl.

And that's what's tripping her up.

The tide started to turn against Taylor in May, when she split up with her boyfriend of 15 months, Scottish DJ Calvin Harris. Now, Taylor has always been perceived as having too many boyfriends, which is mildly hilarious, given this wouldn't be a problem if she was a guy. She seems to like falling in love and then, when it all goes pear-shaped, she likes writing songs about the heartbreak. It's part of Swift's problem with staying quiet when it's wise to do so, perhaps.

She split with Harris and then, only weeks later, was photographed kissing English actor Tom Hiddleston on the beach near her multimillion-dollar Rhode Island home. And it didn't seem to be a zoom-lens pap shot, but a rather composed shot, as if set up.

This began a much-photographed first flush of love, where they were snapped all over the place, leading to suggestions that it was staged for a music video. It was too perfect. And we all know that's never going to last. Perfect pops.

But maybe nobody told Swift that. Hell, she's riding high and can't stop showing us. Her Fourth of July party on Rhode Island was incredible, with inflatable slides by the pool, 'I heart TS' T-shirts, her 'squad' of stunning young women in attendance and all, it seemed, paying their respects to the host.

And it wasn't enough that the party happened, but Swift had to brag, with fabulous photos released showing just how amazing her life it. Just how amazing she is. Oh man, that can come back to bite you.

That said, maybe it only comes back to bite you really hard if you're a girl. It's OK to surround yourself with bikini-clad girls if you're Leonardo DiCaprio, but not if you're Taylor Swift. And you get less bashing if you're Kim Kardashian, who breaks the internet by getting naked, than if you're Swift, swimming in the surf with your admittedly across-the-board-gorgeous girlfriends.

But maybe Swift has to grin and bear that: it's called jealousy and it comes with the territory. And yet she can't. She keeps coming back at the Kardashian-Wests and she won't simmer down, despite the increasing volume of suggestions that she's a controlling diva. Which go all the way back to a school play, if reports are to be believed.

Harris has despaired online at Swift's revelation that she wrote his hit This is What you Came For under a pseudonym, while they were together. He is, it has been reported, not going to shy away from telling some home truths about the singer if she pushes him."I know you're off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy ETC," he tweeted after Swift said she wrote his song, "but I'm not that guy, sorry. I won't allow it."

The Katy referred to is Perry, with whom Swift has had a long-reported feud - either sparked by stolen backing dancers or by both going out with singer John Mayer.

Perry responded to Harris's tweet with a clip of Hillary Clinton doing a mock-surprised, no-kidding face.

She has, apparently, personally thanked Kim K for exposing Swift as a liar, as though it was a public service.

It was a mistake, in 2009, to humiliate a young girl. But to take down a woman, in 2015, that's just fine.

Sunday Independent

Life Newsletter

Our digest of the week's juiciest lifestyle titbits.

Editors Choice

Also in Life