Taylor Swift had a very rough July. What should have been significant buzz over her new relationship with Tom Hiddleston — and those exclusive Sun photos — instead resulted in the press and public openly questioning if she and her British beau were really an item.
The Telegraph reported that fans initially poured “scorn” on their love affair, declaring the whole thing a “PR stunt.” Jezebel even consulted a publicist to determine the likelihood of Swift and Hiddleston faking it for the cameras.
This reaction marks the first time in recent history that members of the public and press have openly expressed sentiments other than adoration or envy: They outright questioned whether Taylor was truthful about her new love. The public had moved beyond mocking Swift over going on “too many dates” and “not being able to make them stay.”
Her entire brand was called into question, and there was a growing sense she was playing the jilted lover for attention — and album sales. The warning signs of a backlash were present, but they were seemingly ignored.
Taylor Swift’s people made the poorly-timed decision to suggest to People that her Scottish ex-boyfriend Calving Harris purposely left her writing credits off of “This Is What You Came For.”
“Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris’ sudden split was revealed in early June, and it appears the duo may have broken up over the deejay and producer’s hit with Rihanna.”
“Taylor Swift wrote ‘This Is What You Came For’ under the pseudonym Nils Sjoberg,” the singer’s rep confirms exclusively to People.”
The hit with Rihanna might have seemed a good way to put Swift in the headlines, but as Us Weekly reported, Harris was having none of it. On July 13, the irate DJ blasted Taylor via Twitter, even outright accusing Taylor of dragging rival pop star Katy Perry through the mud for attention (and Perry herself may have subtly confirmed this through cryptic sub-tweeting).
The eruption by Calvin inspired the hashtag “#TaylorSwiftIsOverParty.” While Taylor Swift’s loyal fans were quick to come to her aid, the success of the hashtag — it trended worldwide for more than a day — strongly suggested that there was an enormous negative sentiment now attached to Taylor Swift at a level it hadn’t been previously.
People weren’t buying her new relationship, and they weren’t sympathetic at her attempts to have a dig at her most recent ex. If ever there was a sign Taylor Swift’s public perception was in trouble, it was this mini-internet storm.
But things were about to get much worse.
Some may believe that Kim Kardashian’s unique celebration of World Snake Day was the first time she called out Taylor Swift for dishonesty toward Kanye West. However, Kardashian had previously defended her husband in her June interview with GQ.
Kim said the following.
“[Taylor Swift] totally approved that. She totally knew that that was coming out. She wanted to all of a sudden act like she didn’t. I swear, my husband gets so much sh** for things [when] he really was doing proper protocol and even called to get it approved.”
Taylor Swift’s representatives had claimed that Kanye West didn’t reach out to her for permission before referencing her in his song “Famous.” Curiously, during the same window of time that Kardashian was furiously defending her husband, Swift was parading her brand new boyfriend on a Rhode Island beach.
With attention fixated on Swift, it makes sense that Kim Kardashian’s initial warning shot went unheard. However, days after Taylor Swift was left by Calvin Harris’s Twitter assault, Kim Kardashian posted incriminating documentary footage on her Snapchat.
After weeks of denying she gave permission to Kanye West, Taylor Swift was caught in what amounted to a blatant lie. Since then, Swift’s social media accounts are gleefully filled with snake emojis. Taylor’s also repeatedly been referencing her as a serpent in endless memes.
It appears that Taylor Swift is on the way to being the most hated woman in 2016.
The question now is whether or not after a rough period of weeks there’s a way for Taylor Swift to reverse the trend. The internet loves its memes, and being pegged as a “snake” is likely the last thing Taylor Swift wants or needs.
If her brand is to remain intact, she’s going to have to do or say something to win back the internet and fast. The more public opinion turns against her, the more it could see her brand irreparably tarnished.
Can Taylor Swift overcome recent negativity and win back the internet? Share your thoughts as to why or why not below!
[Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images]