It’s one of the weirdest stories making the rounds this week: Multiple news outlets are reporting that, through some odd bounce of reality, members of the Aryan Nation view Taylor Swift not only as the epitome of beauty and talent, but one of their own.
As of Wednesday evening, there were at least 20 articles with some combination of words suggesting the blond-haired, blue-eyed singer was somehow affiliated with, or an icon of, white supremacist groups.
Over at The Washington Post, reporter Travis Andrews says this phenomenon might’ve started way back in 2013, when a teenaged girl “began overlaying quotes by Adolf Hitler on Pinterest photos of Taylor Swift as a joke. After a few days, the creator of those posts on Pinterest took down her site, saying she’d been stressed out and a little scared by the response to her “Pinterest adventures” and the she did “not condone hateful behavior,” a direct response to “people who feel ‘inspired’ by my posts and create anti-Semitic jokes are missing the point entirely.”
The same images can now be found at The Daily Stormer, the self-proclaimed “most visited alt-right website,” Andrews reports, founded by white supremacist Andrew Anglin.
“Along with the memes, the Daily Stormer has become home to several pages of articles praising Swift that bear titles like ‘Taylor Swift, Avatar of European Imperialism,’ ‘Aryan Goddess Taylor Swift: Nazi Avatar of the White European People’ and ‘Aryan Goddess Taylor Swift Accused of Racism for Behaving Like an Ape in a Music Video,'” Andrews says.
A columnist for the website told Breitbart that Swift is “covertly ‘red-pilled,’ concealing her secret conservative values from the progressive music industry while issuing subtle nods to a reactionary fanbase.”
Over at XXFactor on Slate, Heather Schwedel has some questions about these assertions.
Swift is one of the most popular musicians right now “even as she engages in subtle slut-shaming of other stars and rules over her squad of friends with an iron fist, only choosing model-hot members and make them appear in her videos and by her side. (Though hey, would a white supremacist have let that one black girl in?),” she writes. “What reads as wholesome to some looks overly calculating to others, but any way you slice it, both are qualities that resonate with neo-Nazis’ imaginations.”
She continues, “So should we start interpreting ‘Bad Blood’ in a whole new light? Hearing ‘You Belong with Me’ as a secret conversion anthem? Reading her most recent album, 1989, as an alternative history of what would have happened had the Berlin Wall never come down?” While Schwedel asserts “it’s safe to say Taylor Swift is not a Nazi,” she notes that “the skills that it takes to turn yourself into a successful million-dollar brand, if applied elsewhere, could also make for a very successful tyrant. What’s the difference between selling pop music and selling a fascist agenda, when you get down to it? It’s all propaganda.”
While Swift’s attorney approached Pinterest back in 2013 about having the Swift-Hitler quote-swapping memes taken down, calling the images “libelous” and “ethnically offensive,” it does not appear Swift or her legal team have released an official statement about these recent interviews in Breitbart or The Daily Stormer. It’s probably safe to say she’s just trying to (ahem) shake it off.