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It’s often hard to quantify the excesses of the rich and powerful. Sure, we can clock the total cost of a red carpet outfit, do some napkin math to figure out how much a big gala must have cost, or watch the super-mansion price listings like very jealous hawks. But for most of the things that separate the Famouses from us Normals, it’s very hard to get any kind of itemized listing of all the ways they’re just plain better than us mere mortals.
The exception to that rule, typically, is private jet use, on account of flight records being public knowledge that has to be logged with various airports—hence a whole little cottage industry of blogs and accounts that keep an eye on the flight times of the hoi polloi. And, now, a new Rolling Stone piece laying out some of the biggest private jet users in the world (and their subsequent carbon emissions), with Taylor Swift topping the list with 170 flights taken by her private jet this year so far, and counting.
Presumably realizing that the optics on this aren’t great—private jet flights are harder on the environment than almost any other action an individual can take (while still being a tiny fraction of the emissions put out by the fossil fuel industry, natch)—Swift’s team quickly issued a statement to Rolling Stone, clarifying that Swift isn’t even on most of those flights. Being a generous soul, she loans her jet out liberally, apparently, so she’s not the one taking the flights. (It’s…still her plane, though? We’re not actually sure how this statement helps, if we’re being honest.)
None of which has stopped a healthy crop of mocking jokes about Swift’s plane usage from popping up all over the place online today, in a very “My statement about how I don’t actually take a lot of private jet flights has a lot of people making fun of my private jet use” sort of way. (Many GIFs of random people riding in helicopters are involved.)
In addition to Swift, other folks named in the list (assembled by sustainability marketing company Yard, working with data scraped from Celebrity Jets) include professional athletes Floyd Mayweather (177 flights) and Alex Rodriguez (106 flights), as well as Jay-Z, who gets credited with all the flights taken by Puma’s private jet, because the brand apparently bought the plane at his suggestion. Others on the Top 10 of flight takers include Steven Spielberg, Blake Shelton, Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian, Mark Wahlberg, and Travis Scott, all of whom reportedly thus have carbon emissions footprints several hundred times higher than the average American’s.