Taylor Swift took the stand in Denver, Colorado, to testify about an encounter with former radio host David Mueller, whom she alleges groped her during a June 2013 meet-and-greet photo op. Swift described her encounter with Mueller, during which she says he put his hand up her dress and grabbed her bottom as they posed for a photograph, as “shocking” and “horrible.”
“It was a definite grab. A very long grab,” Swift testified. “It was a very shocking thing that has never happened to me before.”
She claims Mueller is trying to dodge responsibility for his actions.
“I’m not going to allow you or your client to make me feel like this was my fault, because it isn’t,” Swift told Mueller’s attorney, Gabriel McFarland, during an hour on the stand. “I am being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions and not mine.”
In Mueller’s defense, McFarland presented a photograph of Mueller and then-girlfriend Shannon Melcher at the event in question to show that nothing inappropriate could have happened. Swift was unfazed.
“You can ask me a million questions… I’m never going to say anything different. I never have said anything different,” Swift responded.
McFarland then asked Swift why the front of her skirt did not appear to be lifted in the photo.
“Because my ass is located in the back of my body,” Swift responded. “He did not touch my ribs,” she continued, referring to Mueller’s testimony earlier this week that he had inadvertently touched her. “He did not touch my arm. He did not touch my hand. He grabbed my bare ass.”
Mueller seeks $3 million in damages after he claimed the allegations caused him to lose his job at KYGO’s radio station. Swift is asking for just $1. During his opening statement, J. Douglas Baldrige, Swift’s attorney, said Swift doesn’t want to bankrupt Mueller––she merely wants to prove a point.
“She’s just trying to tell people out there that you can say no when someone puts their hand on you,” Baldridge said. “Grabbing a woman’s rear end is an assault, and it’s always wrong. Any woman—rich, poor, famous, or not—is entitled to have that not happen.”
Swift’s testimony earned her praise across social media.
Proud of @taylorswift13 for her fierce & cutting testimony & her refusal to settle for being treated like property. Her example is powerful.
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) August 11, 2017
It's not about whether you like Taylor Swift or not. It's about supporting a young woman having to publicly relive her sexual assault.
— Alex Goldschmidt (@alexandergold) August 10, 2017
Been in several meet n' greets where radio staff attempt to cross lines. Love @taylorswift13 for fighting 4 women's safety in the workplace.
— Nelly Furtado (@NellyFurtado) August 11, 2017
— Taylor Swift Updates (@TSwiftLA) August 11, 2017
But Swift’s case is also raising eyebrows.
is there anyone that actually cares about any of this??? Go write another crappy song swifty!
— CARL NAPOLITANO (@CarlNapolitano) August 11, 2017
Others criticized Swift for past behavior, noting that she has not often used her voice to advocate for social and political reforms. She became the subject of backlash for her “silence” during the Women’s March. Although she tweeted about the event, many chastised her for not attending her local march. Two days after a New York judge denied pop singer Ke$ha a court injunction in her sexual assault case against producer Dr. Luke, Swift donated $250,000 towards any of Ke$ha’s financial needs. This, too, was met with criticism.
“Take something to Capitol Hill or actually speak out about something and then I’ll be impressed,” tweeted singer Demi Lovato, whose sentiments were shared across social media.
In response to a Huffington Post piece about the criticism that has come Swift’s way, commenter Jonathon Hess urged readers to base their opinions on “fact not emotion” and questioned Swift’s integrity.
“How do we think Trump got elected over Hillary? People were more emotional and less rational. We live in a country where people are innocent until proven guilty. This man has not been found guilty, so what do you expect people to say? Do you expect them to blindly side with Taylor Swift without knowing the full facts of the case?” he wrote. “Yes, in an ideal world a woman would not make something like this up. At the same time, in an ideal world men would not do this to women. Unfortunately, the world is not ideal, so we must wait for facts to emerge and see how justice is served.”