Taylor Swift’s Matty Healy Controversy, Explained

Taylor Swift’s Matty Healy Controversy, Explained

Taylor Swift attends ‘In Conversation With… Taylor Swift’ during the 2022 Toronto International … [+] Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 09, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

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Taylor Swift’s rumored relationship with Matty Healy, lead singer of The 1975, has caused quite a stir among the Swift fanbase, with many “Swifties” expressing deep disappointment in their favorite artist.

While the romance has still not been officially confirmed by Swift’s representation, multiple sources have claimed that the rumor is true, and public sightings of the two hanging out (even holding hands), have convinced many a Swiftie that the two are dating.

The pop superstar is known to be a clear, deliberate communicator, too media-savvy to allow a false narrative to spread without pushback.

Swift and Healy have something of a history together, and were briefly rumored to be dating in 2014. At the time, Healy passionately denied that he was dating Swift in an interview with Q magazine, describing the idea of being Swift’s boyfriend as “emasculating.” Two years later, Healy clarified in an open letter that his words were taken out of context.

Some Swifties were devastated by the dating rumor, considering Healy to be a deeply problematic pick for the superstar.

Why do Swifties dislike Matty Healy?

In stark contrast to Taylor Swift’s squeaky clean, “girl next door” image, Matty Healy is something of a messy “edgelord” who has frequently courted controversy, from his provocative stage presence (in which he eats raw meat and kisses fans), to serious accusations of racism.

For years, Healy has given a Nazi salute onstage, as part of his performance of the song “Love It If We Made It,” the lyrics of which highlight the social failures of the current age, as well as the fascist characteristics of Trumpism. Notably, the song contains the line, “Saying controversial things just for the hell of it.”

Healy has spoken about his admiration for “Kaufmanesque” performers who create controversial, attention-grabbing stage personas, and experiment with “blurring of boundaries.”

In the past, Healy has frequently waded into political debates and voiced support for progressive values, having spoken out against abortion bans in Alabama, called out misogyny in the music industry while accepting a 2019 BRIT Award, kissed a male fan during his concert in Dubai to protest anti-gay laws, and invited climate activist Greta Thunberg to make a speech on one of his songs.

In an interview with Pitchfork last year, Healy described himself as “politically homeless,” before elaborating on his beliefs:

“I’m certainly not on the extreme left, but I also think that the word ‘centrist’ has become so ubiquitous that it’s annoying,” Healy said. “I suppose I’m a traditional progressive who is suspicious of woke-ism as a viable worldview or device to make things better.”

Problematic podcast

Healy provoked major backlash after appearing on controversial podcast The Adam Friedland Show, hosted by comedians Adam Friedland and Nick Mullen, formerly of Cum Town.

Cum Town was an unscripted comedy podcast that gained internet fame and notoriety through heavy use of ironic bigotry, echoing the humor of South Park.

Fans affectionately refer to the crude, deliberately offensive tone of the podcast as “middle school humor,” but critics have frequently accused the hosts of crossing the line from irony into outright bigotry, pointing to casual use of slurs and racist accents.

While not overtly political, Friedland and Mullen have expressed earnest support for progressive values. Regarding the podcast’s politics, Friedland once tweeted: “Cum town is not a socialist podcast it’s not a fascist podcast it’s a podcast about being gay with your dad.”

The chronic controversies generated by Cum Town and The Adam Friedland Show were once considered niche, extremely online discourse, but Healy’s appearance on The Adam Friedland Show shone a spotlight on the podcast, exposing the hosts to a whole new audience, who were horrified by what they heard.

Healy’s appearance on The Adam Friedland Show proved particularly offensive, with the hosts doing racist impressions of how they imagined rapper Ice Spice’s accent, and referred to her as “this chubby Chinese lady” and “Inuit Spice Girl.”

During the same episode, Healy also joked about masturbating to hardcore porn in which Black women are humiliated and “brutalized.” Following online backlash, Healy’s episode of the Adam Friedland Show was soon pulled from Spotify and Apple, and prompted Swifties to take action.

“Gaylors, hetlors, normalors need to come together and not step off matty healy’s neck until they break up,” one Swiftie wrote on Twitter.

On Reddit, a Buzzfeed piece documenting Healy’s many controversies reached the top of r/TaylorSwift, a fan subreddit dedicated to Swift, with many of the comments expressing deep disappointment in the pop star.

Another Reddit thread in celebrity gossip subreddit r/Fauxmoi saw Swift described as “another wealthy, complicit white woman.” Some fans made posts admitting that their enthusiasm for Swift’s upcoming shows had been severely dampened by the controversy.

An open letter to Taylor Swift

In response, some Swifties penned an open letter to the pop star and launched the #SpeakUpNow campaign on Twitter, demanding accountability from Swift and urging the pop star to break her silence regarding Healy’s controversies.

They wrote: “your voice holds tremendous power and right now your silence is palpable,” adding, “we urge you to reflect on the impact of your own and your associates’ behavior.”

This sparked another controversy, as some Swifties dismissed the open letter as a manifestation of a “parasocial relationship,” a term used to describe the misplaced sense of kinship that obsessive fans project onto celebrities who they have never met.

The account that posted the letter has since been deleted following backlash. The hashtag, however, is still making the rounds on Twitter, and many fans have since defended the letter as a means of holding artists accountable.

On TikTok, many creators have expressed disgust with Swift’s association with Healy, and urged Swifties to take the controversy seriously.

Some Swifties even canceled their pre-orders of Swift’s upcoming re-release due to her association with Healy, and urged the artist to speak up on behalf of the LGBTQ community.

While Swift is a pop star, not an activist, many fans pointed out that Swift has presented herself as a celebrity willing to use her platform to stand up for marginalized communities, and are now questioning the sincerity of her words.

How has Taylor Swift responded?

So far, silence. Rumors abound of Swift and Healy falling for one another; British tabloid The Sun even claimed that Swift and Healy are currently creating music together.

Recently, Taylor told her Eras audience, “I’ve never been this happy in all aspects of life ever before. It is not just the tour. I just feel like my life finally makes sense.” Some Swifties interpreted Swift’s declaration as an hint that she is happy in her rumored relationship with Healy.

On Wednesday, Swift announced a collaboration with Ice Spice, who will appear on a remix of her song “Karma.” Some fans viewed the announcement with cynicism.

Swift wrote on Twitter: “Um. SO much to tell you. I’m a massive fan of this brilliant artist and after getting to know her I can confirm: she is THE ONE to watch. So delighted to say that ‘Karma’ Featuring the incredible Ice Spice will be out TOMORROW night at MIDNIGHT ET as a part of the new ‘Midnights (Til Dawn Edition)’ deluxe album.”

The quote tweets on Swift’s announcement are a whirlwind of excitement and anger, as many fans took the opportunity to remind Swift of Healy’s appearance on The Adam Friedland Show.

Healy recently acknowledged the controversy while on stage in New Zealand, giving something of an apology: “I just feel a bit bad, and I’m kind of a bit sorry if I’ve offended you,” Healy told his audience.

“Ice Spice, I’m sorry. It’s not because I’m annoyed that me joking got misconstrued. It’s because I don’t want Ice Spice to think I’m a dick. I love you, Ice Spice. I’m so sorry.”

Adam Friedland responded to news of Taylor Swift’s collaboration with Ice Spice on Twitter with a cheeky, “You’re welcome.”

Update: Healy and Swift have broken up, according to TMZ.

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