Taylor Swift has issued a legal threat against Jack Sweeney, a 21-year-old college junior from the University of Central Florida. Sweeney gained notoriety for tracking the private jet movements of celebrities, including Swift, through his social media accounts.
Swift’s legal team accused him of “stalking and harassing behavior,” demanding an immediate cessation of his activities. Swift and her attorneys argue that Sweeney’s tracking not only invades her privacy but also poses a significant threat to her safety and well-being.
The legal notice sent to Sweeney called attention to the severe emotional and physical distress caused to Swift and her family, stressing the heightened state of fear for her personal safety. Swift’s legal team views the situation as a “life-or-death matter.”
Written by Katie Wright Morrone of Venable law firm, the emphatic cease and desist letter charged Sweeney with approaching the situation as if it were a “game.”
“While this may be a game to you, or an avenue that you hope will earn you wealth or fame, it is a life-or-death matter for our Client,” Morrone elaborated.
Sweeney’s defense rests on the premise of transparency and public information. He argued that his activities, which involve using publicly available data to log the flights and CO2 emissions of Swift’s jet among others, are intended to promote awareness rather than cause harm. Sweeney, who previously clashed with Elon Musk over similar tracking activities, maintained that his efforts are driven by a belief in the public’s right to information.
Sweeney is an awful human being.
Taylor Swift is right to be concerned.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2024
“I think it’s important to note that nowhere do I intend for harm. I actually think Swift has some good songs. I believe in transparency and public information, apparently more so than Meta,” Sweeney said in a statement to the DailyMail.
Sweeney pointed out that Swift’s team had previously stated the jet was “rarely used by her as it is loaned out,” a claim that contradicted their later statements according to the UCF student. He noted that Swift’s family has owned multiple jets for years, challenging the narrative that Swift’s jet use was minimal. Sweeney said that “the people are interested” and tracking such information is a part of public domain knowledge.
— Jack Sweeney (@Jxck_Sweeney) February 6, 2024
He also refuted the claim made by Swift’s team that he has “no legitimate interest in sharing the jet information,” pointing out the significant following and support his tracking accounts have garnered, including from Swift’s own fan base. This, according to Sweeney, indicated a clear public interest in the information he shared.
Sweeney mentioned a statement from the Embassy of Japan in the USA, which commented on Swift’s ability to make a flight from Tokyo to the Super Bowl, to illustrate the widespread attention and interest in Swift’s travel habits. This, he argued, demonstrates that there is a “decent expectation” that the movements of private jets, especially those owned by public figures like Swift, will be tracked and discussed by the public.
Swift’s confrontation with Sweeney comes at a time when she is already facing scrutiny over her carbon footprint. The singer has been criticized for the environmental impact of her frequent private jet flights, particularly in light of her status as a global superstar with a significant influence.
Swift’s team has responded to these concerns by stating that she purchases more than double the carbon credits needed to offset her tour travel emissions. However, the debate over her private jet use and the broader issue of celebrity carbon emissions continues to rage.