The song dropped like a microphone in February 2016, dissolving any hopes that Swift and West would ever fully recover from the VMAs fracas. Swift condemned the lyrics through a publicist, calling the song “misogynistic.”
The feud intensified when Kim Kardashian West entered the picture, releasing snippets of a phone call between West and Swift that she claimed proved Swift actually “approved” of the lyrics all along. Swift adamantly denied it, calling Kardashian’s account “character assassination.”
But it was only on Friday that fans could finally hear the truth of that infamous phone call themselves, when footage of the entire 25-minute call mysteriously leaked on social media. Fans of both stars claimed victory, eagerly awaiting responses from Swift and Kardashian.
On Monday night, those responses finally came, reigniting the long-running feud in the throes of a pandemic — a fact that both of them seemed uncomfortably aware of.
Swift went first, nondiscreetly calling Kardashian “somebody” in her Instagram story: “Instead of answering those who are asking how I feel about the video footage that leaked, proving that I was telling the truth the whole time about *that call* (you know, the one that was illegally recorded, that somebody edited and manipulated in order to frame me and put me, my family and fans through hell for 4 years) …
“SWIPE UP to see what really matters.”
Those who swiped up found a donation page for Feeding America, a charity providing free meals to families in need. She also urged her fans to donate to the World Health Organization “during this crisis."
It wasn’t the most unifying fundraiser.
A few hours later, Kardashian broke her silence, too — insisting that Swift made her do it.
She started off by trying to shame the megastar for roping her back into the feud as millions of people are suffering.
“@taylorswift13 has chosen to reignite an old exchange — that at this point in time feels very self-serving given the suffering millions of real victims are facing right now,” her Twitter thread began. “I didn’t feel the need to comment a few days ago, and I’m actually really embarrassed and mortified to be doing it right now, but because she continues to speak on it, I feel I’m left without a choice but to respond because she is actually lying.”
Kardashian said “the only issue I ever had around the situation was that Taylor lied through her publicist."
The publicist said at the time: “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that b---- famous.’” (The dashes were inserted by The Post.)
Kardashian said the full footage of the phone call leaked Friday “doesn’t change the narrative.” But Swift’s fans would probably disagree with her on that, finding that it supports Swift’s account.
To be clear, the only issue I ever had around the situation was that Taylor lied through her publicist who stated that “Kanye never called to ask for permission...” They clearly spoke so I let you all see that. Nobody ever denied the word “bitch” was used without her permission.— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 24, 2020
At the time when they spoke the song had not been fully written yet, but as everyone can see in the video, she manipulated the truth of their actual conversation in her statement when her team said she— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 24, 2020
The snippets that Kardashian released in 2016 of the phone call between West and Swift only represent about three minutes of the conversation, leaving out key context that the fuller version fills in. Swift’s main complaint, for example, was that West never told her he planned to call her the b-word in the song, but from Kardashian’s snippets, fans would never know whether the two discussed that on the phone.
For example, in one of the snippets Kardashian released, Swift is heard saying: “Yeah, I mean, go with whatever line you think is better. It’s obviously very tongue-in-cheek either way. And I really appreciate you telling me about it. That’s really nice.”
Kardashian lashed out at Swift in an interview with GQ, claiming that Swift was falsely trying to “play the victim” despite “approving” the lyrics in “Famous.”
“She totally knew that that was coming out. She wanted to all of a sudden act like she didn’t,” Kardashian said.
Swift, through her publicist, said West wasn’t asking for approval, but asking Swift to publicly give the song her blessing — which Swift did not want to do without hearing the full song.
The full leaked phone call now appears to back that up.
At the very beginning of the call, West says, “So my next single, I wanted you to tweet it. … So that’s why I’m calling you, that I wanted you to put the song out,” he said.
Taylor wondered: Wouldn’t people be a bit confused about why she would do that for him?
“Well, the reason why it will be happening is because it has a very controversial line at the beginning of the song about you,” West told her.
Swift sounded cautiously curious — more so after West says it’s “going to go Eminem a little bit."
“Well, is it going to be mean?” Swift asked.
Upon hearing the lyric — which at that time was, “I feel like Taylor Swift might owe me sex” — Swift played a good sport. She said she didn’t feel like it was mean and was relieved. “I thought it was going to be like, ‘That stupid, dumb b----.’”
In the weeks and months and years after “Famous,” the feud seemed to never end, perhaps because they’re all making money from it.
The day after the release of West’s 2016 album, “The Life of Pablo,” Swift accepted a Grammy for “1989” and seemed to allude to the controversy in her acceptance speech, saying, “I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments, or your fame.”
But the online abuse Swift said she endured from Kardashian and her fans, who branded her a liar and called her a “snake,” would ultimately lead her to take a hiatus from social media. Swift said in 2018 that she “went through some really low times.”
The feuding even shaped her 2017 album “Reputation” — which she teased with images of snakes as an apparent dig directed at Kardashian.
More recently, in the documentary “Miss Americana” released on Netflix earlier this year, Swift said the whole ordeal made her want to “disappear.”
But after Monday’s exchange, Kardashian signaled at the end of her Twitter thread that she wanted the controversy over.
She said she was never going to talk about it again.
This will be the last time I speak on this because honestly, nobody cares.— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 24, 2020
Sorry to bore you all with this. I know you are all dealing with more serious and important matters.