Taylor Swift won’t be appearing at the 2019 Melbourne Cup. The Grammy award-winning singer canceled her appearance at the controversial horse race after animal rights activists criticized her for supporting animal abuse. According to CNN, the Victoria Racing Club announced that the 29-year-old singer would be headlining the event on November 5 but reversed that statement on Saturday, saying that she was no longer available.
“Mushroom Events has regretfully advised the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) that a recent change to Taylor Swift’s Asian promotional tour means she will no longer be able to perform at this year’s Melbourne Cup,” a news release from the Victoria Racing Club read.
A representative from Mushroom Events, the group that organizes the cup, confirmed the report.
“Regrettably, Taylor is no longer able to make it to this year’s Melbourne Cup. Changes to her Asian promo schedule have made it logistically impossible for her to be here. To all of Taylor’s fans, we hope to see Taylor in Australia in 2020,” Michael Gudinski said.
Animal rights activists have long fought against the race, which they say is cruel and harmful to the horses running. Several horses have been killed while racing, including one Irish racehorse that was euthanized after injuring its shoulder last year. It was the sixth death on the track since 2013.
Opponents argue that Swift should use her platform to champion animal rights the way that she has for cats. A petition on Change.org, organized with the hashtag NupToTheCup, called for the singer to cancel her show and speak out on behalf of the horses who the group says are whipped and pushed beyond their limits in the name of gambling and entertainment.
While Swift’s team didn’t mention the petition as the reason for their choice to cancel the show, some are speculating that the controversy played a role.
“Obviously, this is disappointing for everyone. We understand how important the pre-Cup entertainment is and we look forward to providing an update shortly,” said Victoria Racing Club Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson.
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For me, the Lover album is open fields and sunsets and SUMMER. I want to celebrate the album and perform it live with you in a way that feels authentic to the music. I want to go to some places I haven’t been, and play festivals for the first time in ages…and where we didn’t have festivals, we made some. Introducing, Lover Fest East and West. Details and additional dates coming soon! TaylorSwift.com
Swift has taken the rest of the year to lay low in general, it seems. Beyond the Melbourne Cup event, she has only committed to a handful of concert dates and festivals. As The Inquisitr reported, she will appear on The Voice, and at events in California and Massachusetts. Later, she is also doing a short tour through Asia. With the cancellation of the race event, fans have one less chance to see the singer.