Was Taylor Swift / Kanye Incident Staged?

Kanye West Taylor Swift MTV AwardsI really hate harping on this whole Taylor Swift, Kanye West embrolio. But I feel the need to state in full why some have the opinion that the moment might have been staged. Some have asserted this as an opinion, but that opinion is based on facts and a documented history from MTV and Taylor Swift specifically. For the record, I don’t feel comfortable saying with vehemence that the moment was staged, but I certainly don’t feel comfortable arguing that it wasn’t either. My goal here is to put the facts out, and let you decide.

Just last year at the MTV Awards, actor Sacha Baron Cohen acting as the character “Bruno” landed crotch first into rapper Eminem during the show, which caused Eminem and his posse to storm out of the building:

Suspicion swirled for days that the incident was staged. People cited how the cameras were trained on Eminem before it was evident that was where “Bruno” would land. And most importantly MTV DID NOT COME CLEAN THAT THE INCIDENT WAS STAGED. Then later lead writer for the awards show Scott Aukerman revealed that it was a hoax.

“Yes, the Bruno/Eminem incident was staged. That’s all anyone wants to talk about, so let’s get it out of the way. They rehearsed it at dress and yes, it went as far as it did on the live show then.”

MTV and the award show attendees have a long history of orchestrating events to keep the show in the news cycle well after that last plastic trophy has been handed out. Another example of this is the Madonna/ Brittany Spears over-orchestrated, over-mouthy kiss in 2003 premeditated by Madonna as a publicity stunt:

Brittany Spears Madonna Kiss

But let’s focus in on Taylor Swift specifically. Just last week she released a video showing her watching the announcements of the CMA nominations. This video drew fire from some, saying that the whole thing was clearly staged and over-orchastrated. The video is supposed to portray Taylor in an everyday scenario at her home, like she just woke up and flipped on the TV, and was surprised to receive her nominations.

After selling 10 million albums, her nominations were virtually guaranteed, making some wonder if the over-reaction and bated breath was an act, including the usually very Swift-friendly CMT blog, which said:

“Of course, after selling 10 million albums and having one of the year’s hottest concert tours, is she really all that surprised to receive the CMA nominations? When I stared watching the video, my cynicism automatically kicked in.”

One of the biggest things that has made me skeptical has been the reaction that the public has had to the incident. You could not put together a 10 million dollar ad campaign that could give Taylor Swift as much positive publicity as this incident did, and it also gave Beyonce positive press. And even though Kayne West received negative press for the incident, they have a saying in Hollywood: no publicity is bad publicity.

Maybe MTV knew about the incident, but Taylor didn’t, or maybe Taylor’s handlers did. It is also interesting to point out that Kanye also crashed the stage at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2006.

Staged or not, I think with the history of MTV and Taylor Swift, people have the right to wonder. In today’s pop culture, top acts like Taylor Swift are not people, but brand names and franchises. Everything that is seen in the public eye has been thought over by publicists and studio executives. Every move is carefully planned.

And for the people that are furious over this incident, saying that Taylor is “just a girl” and that this was an outrage, let me point out that from a publicity and financial standpoint, nothing better could have ever happened to Taylor Swift. Having this happen to her was like hitting the pop culture jackpot. This was the lead story on virtually every news outlet Monday morning, and even the Pres Obama has chimed in. That is why my sympathy for Taylor being handed a golden goose is limited.