Music

Trent Reznor Slams Taylor Swift For Not Speaking Out Against Donald Trump

Reznor accused Swift and other popstars of prioritising their brands over activism.

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has publicly blasted Taylor Swift for failing to use her position to speak out against US President Donald Trump.

Reznor’s comments came during an interview with The New York Times Magazine to promote the release of NIN’s new album Bad Witch. He was asked if he felt musicians had a responsibility to be politically active — and spoiler, he does.

“I was doing press with somebody in the mid-’90s, and they made an argument that stayed with me: that I have influence, and that it’s my job to call out whatever needs to be called out,” Reznor answered. “Because there are people who feel the same way but need someone to articulate it.”

It was then that he accused Swift and other popstars of similar stature of ignoring political activism in favour of prioritising their own brand.

“You don’t hear a lot from the Taylor Swifts of the world, and top-tier, needle-moving cultural youth, because they are concerned about their brand, their demographic and their success and career and whatnot,” he said.

“But what Donald Trump is doing is concerning and infuriating — and it’s not the conservative agenda, it’s not a question of religious preference, it’s not a question of should government be big or small. The disregard for decency and truth and civility is what’s really disheartening.

“It feels like a country that celebrates stupidity is really taking it up a notch.”

It’s definitely not the first time Swift has copped criticism for her silence on Trump. After spending years building her Girl Power image and flirting with (white) feminism, Swift was deafeningly silent throughout the 2016 election campaign — which caused many to speculate that she actually voted for the Republican candidate.

“When leaked audio caught Donald Trump advising men to grab women ‘by the pussy’, she stayed silent,” wrote Junkee’s Katie Cunningham last year. “When Trump was elected, she stayed silent. Still, today, she is silent… The election of Donald Trump revealed her feminism to be nothing but smoke and mirrors.”

When Time placed her on their Person of the Year cover for being part of the ‘silence breakers’ around the #MeToo movement (Swift had won a court case against DJ David Mueller for sexually harassing her earlier in the year), it sparked outrage.

Trent Reznor, on the other hand, has been characteristically outspoken on the matter of the President, labelling him an “imbecile” and “a fucking vulgarian”.

“It is a fucking shame that as US citizens we have chosen a complete imbecile,” he said in an interview last year. “We may be the most demoralised country in the world. I know that many Americans dislike this situation. I cannot wait for the moment when he is no longer president.”

Perhaps Swift should take a leaf out of Trent Reznor’s book.