Taylor Swift kept silent about politics as she was “terrified” she’d face a similar backlash to the one the Dixie Chicks faced over their opposition to the 2003 Iraq War.
The pop superstar, who idolised the trio as a child, was heartbroken when they were shunned by outraged country music fans and dropped from country music stations after Natalie Maines told a crowd they were “ashamed” of then-President George W. Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War.
As a result, Taylor decided never to speak out about politics, but ended the stance before the 2018 U.S. mid-term elections to endorse pro-LGBTQ and women’s rights candidates for the very first time.
Explaining how the backlash against her idols affected her, Taylor told Variety magazine, “I saw how one comment ended such a powerful reign, and it terrified me.”
Comparing the controversy to modern online backlashes, the ME! hitmaker added: “These days, with social media, people can be so mad about something one day and then forget what they were mad about a couple weeks later.
“That’s fake outrage. But what happened to the Dixie Chicks was real outrage. I registered it – that you’re always one comment away from being done being able to make music.”
The star also revealed her regret at not opposing U.S. President Donald Trump before the 2016 election and that she stayed silent due to her family’s fears speaking out would put her in danger. However, she eventually decided getting political was the right thing to do.
“This was a situation where, from a humanity perspective, and from what my moral compass was telling me I needed to do, I knew I was right, and I really didn’t care about repercussions,” the star explained. “My dad is terrified of threats against my safety and my life, and he has to see how many stalkers we deal with on a daily basis, and know that this is his kid. It’s where he comes from.”