America's love affair with Taylor Swift seems to have hit a rough patch.
The country singer was a breath of fresh air when she burst on the scene. Both charming and gosh-darn humble, she quickly won over fans by sharing her everygirl boyfriend woes, including how she was dumped by Joe Jonas during a 27-second phone call. (The nerve!)
While Swift, 23, could do no wrong a year ago – and the accolades poured in both from industry folks at award shows and the public by way of soaring purchases of whatever it was she was peddling (from her music to perfume) – that perception seems to have shifted after a series of recent public missteps and she’s received a slew of bad press.
The most recent blowback comes from her fan mail dumping scandal. As omg! reported Tuesday, hundreds of letters that had been carefully crafted (and decorated with stickers and glitter!) by her loyal fangirls and boys and sent to the star were discovered, unopened, in a Nashville dumpster. Though a spokesperson for the singer explained it was an accident, there has been a strong backlash – even here on omg!.
"They were purposely thrown out. And she knew about [it]," wrote omg! commenter Frufie. "I'm sure this little faker/phoney doesn't give a hoot about the kids who write the letters." Added another reader, Stewie, "Taylor dumping letters by accident? Yeah has nothing to do with not being able to handle constructive criticism from soon be ex-fans."
Then there was the unnecessarily harsh comment Swift directed at Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for making a joke – again, a joke – about Swift's taste in younger men. Not only was the one-liner from the Golden Globes tame – and not so off-base considering her last two boyfriends were both 18 – but the star's love life is a daily punch line both on TV and the Internet, so it was unclear why she singled out the two very likable – and darn funny – comedians with the stinging comment to Vanity Fair that, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."
Perhaps the most damaging blowback has become Swift's ex-boyfriend bashing. While it was once charming to hear a story of her heartbreak woes (we have never ever ever felt the same about Joe Jonas!), Swift has been blowing through famous boyfriends – others have included Harry Styles, Jake Gyllenhaal, John Mayer, Taylor Lautner, and Conor Kennedy – and then making money off them by slamming (most of) them in her songs. Her performance at the Grammys, in which she was viewed to have mocked Styles by breaking into a faux British accent mid-song, especially raised eyebrows and prompted us to ask, "Is Taylor Swift the Worst Ex-Girlfriend Ever?" It's that unapologetic nature that rubs some the wrong way, especially when not all of her exes have the huge worldwide platform she does to defend themselves.
The recent backlash against her also has included stories speculating whether she secretly had a nose job and breast augmentation to give her more of a cover girl look – something you would have been less likely to read a year ago.
While this run of negative press hasn't seemed to hurt her bottom line – despite one report earlier this week, she actually does sell magazines; her Red tour is a hot ticket; and she has a new, big bucks, long-term endorsement deal with Diet Coke in addition to existing relationships with Target, Sony, CoverGirl, and Elizabeth Arden – her likeability factor is taking some hits … though not to a point of no return.
"Taylor Swift has an incredibly strong brand and her earning power remains as high as just about anyone in music," Forbes senior editor Zack O'Malley Greenburg tells omg!. "A little bit of negative press isn't going to hurt that, and I expect to see her among music's top moneymakers this year once again."
And a crisis-PR consultant agreed that it’s not time for her management team to hit the panic button just yet, saying, “I don't think the backlash right now is that strong because you don't see it in sales – her album has been strong and her concerts are selling well – and there's still a lot of interest in her. She really has a well-run business side. She’s a marketing machine. So I don't think she needs the distraction from this other stuff. She needs to work on that – to not let her private life get in the way. That's what I would try to do if I was trying to work with her.”
Though it is a tad difficult when her songs and her private life are so intertwined.
“That is true except there are two sides to that,” the expert continues. “She has done pretty well by writing about it. How many hit songs has she had? Maybe if she settles down – and perhaps gets married – there will be other things to write about.” Until then, she should keep in mind, “If you're talented and doing well – like she is – you really don' t need to take personally everything that everyone says about you.”
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