Taylor Swift may have made some recent missteps while trying to control her public narrative — but her Instagram stunt on Tuesday, with its suspiciously perfect timing, proved no one can match her ability to stay in the spotlight.
Hours before the first concert of her Reputation Tour in Glendale, Ariz., Swift posted an Instagram story to her 107 million followers with the image of an olive branch and the caption “Thank you Katy.”
“So I just got to my dressing room and found this actual olive branch,” Swift says in the brief video clip. “This means so much to me.”
For those unaware of the backstory: Swift and Katy Perry have been embroiled in a public feud since at least 2014, when Swift revealed to Rolling Stone that her new fiery song “Bad Blood” (on her upcoming album “1989”) was about an unnamed female singer that tried to “sabotage” an arena tour. Quickly, fans put two and two together: A few of Swift’s backup dancers had jumped ship to Perry’s tour the previous summer.
Things escalated when Swift’s music video for “Bad Blood” featured the pop star and her squad of celebrity friends ready to fight a battle. Reading between the lines: Don’t mess with Swift, because she will not hesitate to use her power to bring you down.
Aside from a few passive-aggressive tweets, Perry dodged talking about all this for years (Swift never mentioned it again after the Rolling Stone article). Then, last year, Perry finally went into detail about the feud on an episode of James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” while she was promoting a new album.
“There’s a situation,” Perry said. “Honestly, it’s really, like, she started it, and it’s time for her to finish it.”
A few days later, on the same night Perry’s album dropped (with a rumored Swift dis track, the dismally reviewed “Swish Swish”), Swift released all of her music to streaming services, despite being notoriously anti-streaming. Coincidence? Sure.
Yet despite everything, Perry clearly decided now was time to end the fight. Although she hasn’t spoken about Swift’s Instagram story, the card with the olive branch reads, “Hey old friend — I’ve been doing some reflecting on past miscommunications and hurt feelings between us. I really want to clear the air …” Another sentence starts, “I’m deeply sorry for …”
Anyway, posting this video is a very savvy move on Swift’s part. She could have kept the gift private, but why do that when you can share it with millions?
First, those few sentences visible in the card sure make it seem like the whole thing was Perry’s fault — because, hey, she reached out to apologize first! And Swift looks like the mature one, graciously accepting Perry’s regrets.
Then, the timing: Given that it’s mere hours before her stadium tour starts, Swift has ensured that her name will stay in the headlines. Sure, a tour is great — but this olive branch situation is an unexpected twist in a pop culture feud that has captivated fans for years. The one-two punch of both will guarantee Swift the news cycle.
And as for Perry, her recent album struggled, but she’s found a new life as a judge on ABC’s reboot of “American Idol,” recently renewed for a second season. It’s the perfect time to tie up loose ends as she embarks on the next (and extremely lucrative) phase of her career.
Truly, it works out well for both of them — and if Perry shows up as a surprise guest on Swift’s tour this summer, count us as not at all surprised.