Fans “jokingly” threaten to burn down her house and send “curses”, while another columnist is required to remove the review, hinting that they know his address.
On July 24, Grammy winner and highest paid artist in the world at the end of 2019, Taylor Swift released her eighth studio album, “folklore”. The release came as a surprise to the public – the singer announced it in less than a day. On the same day, she also posted a video and launched merch for sale.
The journalist for Pitchfork, one of the most respected music publications, Gillian Mapes gave Swift an 8 out of 10. The reviewer praised the singer for her lyrics, “cinematic” love songs and indie sound, which, however, seemed too mainstream to her. In general, the journalist liked the album.
There are already those who fundamentally dislike “folklore” who think this is another calculating attempt by Swift to transform her career (how dare she). At the same time, fans see the album as convincing proof that their idol is capable of absolutely anything (also an exaggeration).
While it’s true that “folklore” is pushing the boundaries of Swift’s sound in unexpected directions, its sources of inspiration seem to be mainstream homage to “indie” rather than innovation.
But Swift’s fans were touched not so much by the review itself as by the assessment that Pitchfork is given not by the critic himself, but by several employees of the publication. However, they rarely give the highest marks. Only the albums of Bob Dylan and the art-pop artist Perfume Genius received the Nines for 2020 . And the “dozens” generally occur once a decade: in 2010 it was directed by Kanye West’s ” My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy “, and in 2020 – ” Fetch The Bolt Cutters ” by Fiona Apple.
Regardless, Swift fans decided that such a “low” rating of 8 out of 10 could drop the album’s overall Metacritic rating. At the time of this writing, the rating «folklore» rests on an assessment of 89.
According to The Daily Beast, fans of the singer began to publish the address, phone number and photos of the journalist’s house in replays under the Pitchfork tweet with a link to the review of Mapes. Others joked about burning down her house.
Some of the comments with threats and harassment have already been deleted, and in the rest, users criticize the journalist and claim that the album deserves the highest rating.
try again— Audrey 🍍 (@almostfuckingdo) July 27, 2020
yall are tasteless asf pic.twitter.com/SPAknMNI8b— Beny || fan account (@Benyoutsold) July 27, 2020
You have no taste
it deserves 9.5— dean (@dean43862301) July 27, 2020
The album deserves a 9.5
alternate headline: washed-up former tastemaker too scared to make any bold assertions about female pop artist doubles down on oddly specific score range to appease the lowest common denominator pic.twitter.com/7M3xXzA6vR— eugene (@eug1998) July 27, 2020
Alternate headline: Former exhausted taste maker is too afraid to make any loud statements about pop singers and puts very specific grades at least the lowest common denominator
@pitchfork how about u hire some indie/alt reviewers? We’ll donate money— Pranu🖤 | ia, don’t unf (@chasingshad0wz) July 27, 2020
How about hiring indie or alternative reviewers? We will pay
In replay, Swift fans also publish strange curses with “satanic” photos of the singer and text in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia. The message translates something like this: “Anyone who comes after the Queen of Darkness, Taylor Swift, will die alone and burn forever in flames. Dark fears and demons will penetrate you. You will never be happy and you will not fall asleep.
ከጨለማው ንግሥት በኋላ ፣ ቴይለር ስዊፍት በኋላ የሚመጣ ማንኛውም ሰው ብቻውን ይሞታል እና ለዘላለም ይቃጠላል። በጨለማ ፍርሃቶችዎ እና በአጋንንትዎ ይሞላሉ ፡፡ በጭራሽ ደስተኛ አትሆኑም እና እንደገና በደንብ pic.twitter.com/3cPy3K1sZz— s h o e b¹³ (@hauntedghostss) July 27, 2020
ከጨለማው ንግሥት በኋላ ፣ ቴይለር ስዊፍት በኋላ የሚመጣ ማንኛውም ሰው ብቻውን ይሞታል እና ለዘላለም ይቃጠላል። በጨለማ ፍርሃቶችዎ እና በአጋንንትዎ ይሞላሉ ፡፡ በጭራሽ ደስተኛ አትሆኑም እና እንደገና በደንብ pic.twitter.com/FId34xnWA8— ٰ (@repsbloodline) July 27, 2020
Mapes tweeted that she received “more threats to harm her than she could read.” She saw her address being disseminated in replays and received an anonymous threatening phone call at night. The journalist closed her account (with her permission, the tweets were published in The Daily Beast), but stressed that everything was fine with her.
I received a lot of letters with the text something like this: “You ugly fat bitch, who obviously envies Taylor, die.” This isn’t the first time I’ve come across this from fans of pop artists. It sucks to be afraid of people on the street and twitch on every phone call.
Swift fans also pissed off New York Times journalist John Karamanica, who wrote an overall laudatory review but criticized the album’s indie sound. There is no rating in the publication’s material, but Metacritic considered its review “mixed” – as if the critic gave the release 60 points out of 100.
The singer’s fans flooded with replays under the NYT tweet and demanded to remove the review en masse. Their main complaint is that Karamanika usually reviews pop music and folklore is an alternative album, which means that the critic doesn’t have enough expertise. At the same time, the journalist wrote reviews of all of Swift’s previous albums.
Uhmn huns this article is BIASED, written by someone who clearly stated that he’s a pop critic and also gave the lowest rating. I say delete this and the rating before your credibility goes in the gutter— Roli/ Rep Era 💅🏻 (@roli_230) July 26, 2020
Um, dear ones, this article is BARRIED, it was written by a man who clearly calls himself a pop critic and gave the release a low rating. My opinion is to remove the material before your authority is flushed down the drain
This review is not only wrong and bias but tasteless.. imagine a pop critic rating an indie alternative album 😒— Angelica Contreras (@kawaii15158) July 26, 2020
This review is not only wrong and biased, but also tasteless. Imagine a pop music critic rating an alternative indie album
Your credibility is freefalling after this. Please, consider apologizing for this mistake and retiring the article. Thank you.— marta (@Martituwi) July 26, 2020
Your authority in free fall. Please apologize for the mistake and delete the article. thank
At the same time, in the replies to the tweet, Karamaniki promised to “sort it out” if the album’s rating on Metacritic falls, and also published curses in Amharic. The critic did not close the profile and did not respond to the threats in any way.
I know your address. Lemme plan smthn— Luqman (@f0lkI0re) July 26, 2020
I know your address. Let’s schedule something
Not all Swift fans joined in the persecution of journalists – some of the singer’s fans asked to stop spreading false information and even apologized on behalf of the entire fandom.
Others, on the contrary, only laughed at the articles and tweets of users that covered the behavior of the fandom, because they decided that the threats from fans should not be taken seriously. Swift fans even complained that “adults with jobs and verified accounts are poisoning teenagers.”
everybody go read this article about swifties! some of us even got featured our impact is unmeasurable it’s so funny pls😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/gYZjg2f1z6— charles (@repsfolkwhore) July 28, 2020
Everybody go read this article about Swiftis! Some of us even got there, the influence is invaluable, it’s so funny
tell me people don’t actually take “threats” from swifties seriously- half of us are depressed and the other half are dumb do y’all really think we’re gonna hurt you in any way😭😭 pic.twitter.com/blvNlW5Yuq— ˗ˏˋtienˊˎˊ (@bigreputatien) July 28, 2020
Tell me that people really don’t take the swift “scars” seriously – half of us are depressed and the other half are dumb. Do you really think that we can harm you somehow
In recent years, pop fans have used a variety of techniques to boost their idols’ releases. They host “streaming parties”, create eight-hour Spotify playlists with the same tracks, raise funds to bulk purchase the release from various services, and listen to the album on repeat to increase the number of listens.
Harassment of journalists who downgrade the release rating on Metacritic is considered by some fans to be another way to support the artist. Journalists speak out against this practice and believe that the artists themselves are responsible for such actions of fans. Junkee suggested that Swift could stop the bullying with one tweet, but she ignores the situation, and her representatives do not respond to requests from publications.
The publication notes that musicians often benefit from the toxic behavior of fans who are ready to attack any hater of the performer. So in 2019, Ariana Grande , Lizzo and Lana Del Rey used the fan base of protests against journalists who wrote critical reviews of their albums.
It is not the first time that Swift fans have been spreading the personal data of the singer’s critics and sending them threats. In the summer of 2019, the singer’s fans threatened to kill the comedians of the show Desus & Mero for joking about Swift’s “very long back”. One of the duo members even contacted the FBI.
In the fall of 2019, during a scandal over the owners of the rights to her old albums, the singer asked fans to “tell [her former manager] Scooter Brown and [label owner] Scott Borkett how you feel” – and fans shared their personal details. Swift did not comment on these incidents either.