By Whitney Friedlander, CNN
Taylor Swift is certainly not taking a literal interpretation of her single, “You Need to Calm Down.”
The singer got political during her 2019 MTV Video Music Awards acceptance speech for video of the year, which she won for the pride-themed anthem, to call out the Trump administration’s current lack of acknowledgment of the Equality Act petition for LGBTQ rights. A call to sign the petition was featured at the end of her video.
“It now has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House,” Swift said, then looked at her wrist as if to gesture she was checking the time on a watch.
She also suggested that elected officials against this and similar measures should be wary of a sea change because fans voted “You Need to Calm Down” as the category’s winner.
“In this video several points were made, so you voting for this video means that you want a world, where we’re all treated equally under the law,” she said.
On Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said the Trump administration rejects discrimination but doesn’t support the Equality Act bill.
The bill has passed the Democratic-controlled House, but has not been brought up for a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, the House-passed bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” Deere said when asked about Swift’s comments.
Swift hasn’t always been outspoken on politics.
She was virtually silent about the 2016 presidential election. The backlash was fast and furious.
As Caroline Framke wrote in Vox on Election Day 2016, “(Swift’s) absolute silence on anything politics-related, in an election that saw a higher than usual number of celebrities, public figures, magazines, and even TV shows endorsing — or at the very least discussing — the candidates, is extraordinary.”
Swift explained her previous skittishness when she appeared on the cover of American Vogue’s September issue.
“Unfortunately in the 2016 election you had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement,” she told Vogue. “(Then-candidate Donald Trump) was going around saying, I’m a man of the people. I’m for you. I care about you. I just knew I wasn’t going to help.”
Her political reemergence comes as the nation gears up for what could be a bruising 2020 election.
Swift wasn’t the only performer to get political at this year’s VMAs. Rapper French Montana and “GLOW” star Alison Brie took a pro-immigration stance when they presented the award for best Latin music video.
Moroccan-born Montana said he was proud to present the award as an immigrant, adding “I feel like we are the people that make this country, and I feel like I want to be the voice.”
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