NYT under fire for writing op-ed speculating on Taylor Swift’s sexuality - Hindustan Times
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New York Times under fire for writing op-ed speculating on Taylor Swift’s sexuality: ‘Invasive, untrue’

BySumanti Sen
Jan 09, 2024 08:17 AM IST

The writer suggested that Taylor Swift may have been sending coded messages through her songs that meant she could be a member of the LGBTQ community, secretly

The New York Times is being blasted for publishing a piece that speculated on Taylor Swift’s sexuality. The opinion piece, titledLook What We Made Taylor Swift Do,’ is a 5,000-word article where editor Anna Marks has suggested how references to the LGBTQ+ community perceived in the songwriter’s music may indicate that she was sending coded messages that meant she could be a member of the community, secretly.

US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift arrives for the 81st annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 7, 2024 (Photo by Michael TRAN / AFP)
US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift arrives for the 81st annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 7, 2024 (Photo by Michael TRAN / AFP)

“In isolation, a single dropped hairpin is perhaps meaningless or accidental, but considered together, they’re the unfurling of a ballerina bun after a long performance,” Marks wrote. “Those dropped hairpins began to appear in Ms. Swift’s artistry long before queer identity was undeniably marketable to mainstream America. They suggest to queer people that she is one of us.”

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‘There seems to be no boundary some journalists won’t cross’

CNN reported that Taylor’s associates are not pleased with the piece.“Because of her massive success, in this moment there is a Taylor-shaped hole in people’s ethics,” a person close to the situation said. “This article wouldn’t have been allowed to be written about Shawn Mendes or any male artist whose sexuality has been questioned by fans.”

“There seems to be no boundary some journalists won’t cross when writing about Taylor, regardless of how invasive, untrue, and inappropriate it is - all under the protective veil of an ‘opinion piece,’” the person added.

Taylor had previously spoken out in favour of the LGBTQ community, and against several anti-gay bills being introduced. She has referred to her concerts as a “safe space” for LGBTQ community.

‘Every time an artist signals queerness…’

Marks also wrote in the piece, “I know that discussing the potential of a star’s queerness before a formal declaration of identity feels, to some, too salacious and gossip-fueled to be worthy of discussion.”

“I share many of these reservations,” Marks wrote. “But the stories that dominate our collective imagination shape what our culture permits artists and their audiences to say and be. Every time an artist signals queerness and that transmission falls on deaf ears, that signal dies. Recognizing the possibility of queerness — while being conscious of the difference between possibility and certainty — keeps that signal alive.”

After the op-ed was published, Chris Willman, the chief music critic at Variety, wrote on X, “I've defended the NYT before when they published questionable op-eds... but this was the least defensible op-ed I can remember ever seeing the NYT run, made all the worst by the fact that it was written by a staffer, who specializes in these speculations.”

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