This past summer, we learned that Taylor Swift would be giving a deposition against former radio host David Mueller, who was fired after Swift alleged that he groped her. (He had initially sued her, saying that he wrongfully lost his job over an incident that didn’t happen; Taylor later countersued.) For the legal proceedings, Taylor’s team was reportedly using the photo that the pair stood for – during which the incident occurred – as evidence. Though Taylor wanted the photo to remain private, TMZ released it this morning, even specifically noting that she wanted it to remain out of the public eye.
Editor’s note: Teen Vogue has opted to not link to the article and photo in question.
Taylor has not commented on this particular development, but given the context in which it’s happening, we can only imagine that she’s not thrilled. Considering how violated Taylor says she felt in her deposition it’s understandable that she might feel further violated that the evidence is now on the internet for anyone with a connection to see.
“As soon as he grabbed my ass, I became shocked and withdrawn and was barely able to say ‘Thank you for coming,’ which is what I say to everybody,” she had told the court. “I was barely even able to get the words out, and it was like somebody switched the lights off in my personality.”
Given the fact that Taylor has not publicly commented on the trial, it’s clear that she’d like the matter to remain as private as possible. Moreover, to treat the issue of a sexual assault as a topic of public gossip (as tabloid sites often do) is disrespectful not just to Taylor, but to anyone who has been sexually assaulted. Our society already has issues with regard to believing those who say they have been assaulted; honoring their wishes for privacy is the least we can do.
She also wisely noted in the deposition, that a photo might not serve as the best evidence. “”It’s impossible to know if that was in the moment before or as he’s grabbed on, but I was there, so I felt it, so I didn’t just see it in a photo afterward. I was also there. I experienced it. It happened to me, so I’m positive that it did happen.” It’s unclear, then, what good would be done by obtaining and releasing this photo.