Suspiciously Well-Timed Stories About Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has a Reputation for being extremely image-savvy. The singer's business acumen is nearly unrivaled, yet her public persona faced a PR pummeling in 2016. She was "exposed" by Kimye, called out by Calvin Harris and Nicki Minaj, and waged a brief romance with Tom Hiddleston that turned into a media circus. That said, the timing of some of Swift's positive press seems very deliberately orchestrated. Here are some suspiciously timed stories involving the songstress.

She called out Apple Music...

On June 21, 2015, Swift penned an open letter to Apple Music on her Tumblr page reprimanding the brand for allegedly refusing to pay artists for three months worth of streaming during its trial run.

"I'm not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company," she said in her letter (via Billboard), adding, "I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right... We don't ask you for free iPhones. Please don't ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much. We simply do not respect this particular call."

The key phrases here are "I say this with love, reverence, and admiration" and "I hope that soon I can join them..." You'll see why.

...then inked a lucrative deal with them

Mere hours after Swift slammed Apple Music for its streaming policy, the company pulled a 180 and agreed to pay artists royalties during its 90-day trial period. Swift changed her tune too, just four days after she called the company out. 

On June 25, 2015, she tweeted (via E! News), "After the events of this week, I've decided to put 1989 on Apple Music...and happily so. This is simply the first time it's felt right in my gut to stream my album. Thank you, Apple, for your change of heart."

Not only did she allow her album to stream on Apple Music, but by April 2016, she was starring in commercials for the company. Sure, it could just be a coincidence. Maybe.

She changed her tune about feminism

In 2012, the Daily Beast asked Swift if she was a feminist, and she replied, "I don't really think of things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life."

By August 2014, Swift was promoting 1989 and telling The Guardian, "I didn't understand that saying you're a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me...was that you hate men... Becoming friends with Lena [Dunham]...has made me realize that I've been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so."

Swift has been accused of using feminism as a prop. The Huffington Post pointed out that she recruited a slew of famous women to appear in her "Bad Blood" video, yet when she accepted the Grammy for album of the year for 1989, there were no female producers anywhere onstage with her—just a gaggle of her model pals from the video. 

Despite touting feminism as part of her personal brand, Swift has also made big headlines for allegedly attacked other women, both in her songs and passive aggressively on social media, including Camilla Belle, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj. She also recorded "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" for Fifty Shades Darker (2017), which is part of a franchise that's widely accused of being sexist. 

Her squad goals may be sketchy

Swift made a huge deal about her squad when she was promoting 1989. However, critics quickly noticed that her army of girl power was, well, blindingly white. Perhaps to save face and diversify her image, Swift threw Zendaya (who later hinted that their friendship may have just been for the cameras) into her "Bad Blood" video and invited Empire actress Serayah McNeill to join her at events, including the Billboard Music Awards, where McNeill was spotted holding Swift's purse.

Swift earned the side-eye of some skeptics in late spring 2015, when fellow squad member Camila Cabello, then still a part of Fifth Harmony, got heat for using racial slurs on social media. Swift quickly posted an Instagram photo with Cabello and McNeill, perhaps to show Cabello in a more wholesome light (and to cast herself as a beacon of inclusivity).

She supported Kesha after being dissed for not supporting Kesha

Swift has not publicly come out in support of Kesha, who's been embroiled in a complicated series of lawsuits with producer Dr. Luke since 2014. Kesha has accused the producer of sexual assault and several other abuses, but Dr. Luke has denied all the allegations and filed a series of countersuits. Adele, Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, and a slew of other artists have publicly supported Kesha, but it wasn't until Demi Lovato went on a Twitter rant that many believed to be about Swift that Swift bothered to do anything about it. 

In February 2016, Lovato tweeted, "I'm also ready for self-proclaimed feminists to start speaking out or taking action for women's rights." 

Swift's publicist conveniently released a statement to People, noting, "In a show of support, Taylor Swift has donated $250,000 to Kesha to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time." 

Lovato, among many other feminists, was nonplussed, writing in a subsequent tweet, "Take something to Capitol Hill or actually speak out about something and then I'll be impressed."

Did she or did she not want credit for her ex's hit song?

In May 2016, Swift split from her then-beau of more than a year, Scottish DJ Calvin Harris. Harris had a massive hit at the time with "This Is What You Came For." It turns out, Swift and Harris created that tune together while dating. Swift reportedly chose to use a pseudonym in the credits to keep business and pleasure separate, at least in public. Harris kept up the charade, even telling Ryan Seacrest in an interview, "You know, [Swift and I] haven't even spoken about [collaborating]. I can't see it happening though."

It wasn't until after the breakup that Swift seemed to decide she didn't want to pose as the elusive "Nils Sjoberg" anymore. Sources close to Swift told TMZ that she felt "disrespected" and her squad was "sick of Calvin trashing Taylor and feel he should be thanking her for quietly giving him a smash hit." This seems more like the work of a vindictive ex than a feminist warrior, and Harris noticed.

He slammed Swift on Twitter for the incident, writing, "Hurtful to me at this point that her and her team would go so far out of their way to try and make ME look bad at this stage... I know you're off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy [Perry] ETC but I'm not that guy, sorry. I won't allow it."

Her relationship with Tom Hiddleston was questioned...

In June 2016, two weeks after she split from Harris, Swift was photographed making out with Avengers star Tom Hiddleston. A paparazzo told Cosmopolitan those snapshots were likely no accident. The couple's PDA continued well into September 2016, when they suddenly split.

"There is an unspoken deal between Swift and paparazzi, and her bodyguards make it clear. If we act professionally and listen to their instructions, then she will give it up and everyone gets what they want. We get nice pictures, and she looks great in the magazines," the pap told Cosmopolitan. "Certain celebrities, like Taylor...actually go out of their way to use us as a tool for publicity." Regarding "Hiddleswift," the photographer suspected those romantic moments were staged. "Taylor loves to have control... If it's a huge news story, you always have to wonder."

Other outlets noted that Swift seemed to be looking at the cameras and smiling slyly during her brief but heavily-photographed romance, and the couple conveniently seemed to be sitting near windows when they went out to eat, despite allegedly loving privacy. There was so much skepticism about the validity of the romance that Hiddleston had to actually tell the world that the relationship was not a publicity stunt. 

The timing of this swift Swift relationship is key because of its proximity to another major event affecting her summer of 2016.

...because it occurred at a very suspect time

Swift's nemesis, Kanye West, released a track called "Famous" in February 2016. The lyrics on that song include, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b***h famous." West said Swift approved the lyrics, but Swift's team released a statement saying, "Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single 'Famous' on her Twitter account... She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric."

However, West's wife, Kim Kardashian, accused Swift of lying. "She totally approved that," Kardashian told GQ in July 2016. "She totally knew that was coming out. She wanted to all of a sudden act like she didn't. I swear, my husband gets so much s**t for things [when] he really was doing proper protocol and even called to get it approved." Kardashian continued, "[Swift] totally gave the okay... It was funny because [Swift] said, 'When I get on the Grammy red carpet, all the media is going to think that I'm so against this, and I'll just laugh and say, 'The joke's on you, guys. I was in on it the whole time.'" 

Swift's team once again denied approving the lyrics, but on July 17, 2016, Kardashian released video footage of Swift allegedly on the phone with West and appearing to okay the track. 

All this was playing out while Swift was making headlines canoodling with Hiddleston around the world. Was the hot-and-heavy phenomenon that was Hiddleswift just a well-orchestrated attempt to distract the public from the Kimye controversy?

She keeps releasing musical surprises on days that are significant to Katy Perry

Swift and Perry are certainly not BFFs, which is what makes the following timeline so questionable:

Swift announced on Aug. 23, 2017 that she would drop a single from her upcoming album, Reputation, on Aug. 24, 2017. Also dropping on Aug. 24, 2017: Katy Perry's "Swish Swish" video, which she admitted was a response to Swift's own Perry-inspired diss track, "Bad Blood." Got that? There's more: Swift's video for the song, "Look What You Made Me Do," premiered during the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 27, 2017. Perry hosted the show. 

The surprise timing of Swift's new releases could be a coincidence. For the first half of August 2017, she was involved in a trial over a sexual assault lawsuit against a DJ accused of groping her, so it's reasonable to assume Swift may have wanted to hold off on promoting new music until the trial was over. She won her case on Aug. 14, 2017.

That said, this wasn't the first time Perry's chart presence seemed to be thwarted by the country crossover. On June 8, 2017, Swift's team released a statement announcing her return to all streaming services: "In celebration of 1989 selling over 10 million albums worldwide and the RIAA's 100 million song certification announcement, Taylor wants to thank her fans by making her entire back catalog available to all streaming services tonight at midnight." That happened to be the same day Perry released her long-awaited Witness album.