When pop megastar Taylor Swift publicly revealed her political leanings on Sunday night, praising two Democratic congressional candidates in her home state of Tennessee, she was breaking with a years-long policy of keeping her politics to herself.
Her endorsements drew much praise, but also a fierce backlash: some white supremacists who have formed an odd cult following around the singer cried betrayal, while some more mainstream fans said she should have stuck to her music.
Criticism is nothing new for Swift, whose prior political silence has drawn just as much vitriol as her decision now to speak out.
In an Instagram post on Sunday night, Swift threw her support behind Phil Bredesen, the Democratic candidate for Senate, and Jim Cooper for the House of Representatives.
She wrote: “In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions. I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG.
“I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”
Swift, 28, has previously maintained her girl-next-door image while staying scrupulously neutral in the political fights of the day, a decision that had frustrated many liberals.
Swift had said that as a young woman whose expertise was in music, she didn’t feel right influencing her fans’ politics. “I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people. And I don’t think that I know enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for,” she told Time magazine six years ago.
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