On Thursday, the Democratic Party of Virginia posted and then pulled down “Swifties Against Youngkin” merchandise from their web store.
The move follows Terry McAuliffe — the Democratic candidate for Virginia governor — running ads across Facebook, Instagram and Google starting Tuesday that highlighted his Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin’s connection to the sale of Taylor Swift’s masters back in June 2019. Youngkin was the co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, which helped back Scooter Braun’s infamous purchase of Swift’s Big Machine master recordings. The digital ads included photos of Swift and the hashtag #WeStandWithTaylor.
“Did you know that Republican candidate for Governor, Glenn Youngkin, helped buy Taylor Swift’s masters out from under her when he was co-CEO of Carlyle Group?” one of the targeted ads states.
Piggybacking off the ads, the Democratic Party of Virginia started selling hats, mugs and buttons with the phrase “Swifties Against Youngkin” emblazoned on them in magenta writing, as reported by Washingtonian magazine on Thursday. A screenshot of the merch was tweeted Friday (Oct. 8) by Mediate reporter Katherine Higgins.
(4/7) In the wake of the ad, the VA Democratic Party started selling Swift-themed merch, such as buttons, sweatshirts and hats on a page called “Swifties Against Youngkin.” pic.twitter.com/moOekQ4hGW
— Katherine Huggins (@katherinehuggi) October 8, 2021
There’s no word yet why the merch was pulled, but back in February 2017, Swift filed a series of trademarks for the word “Swifties” — the nickname for her fanbase.
Swift’s spokeswoman has not responded to requests to comment about the singer/songwriter’s unwitting involvement in the Virginia gubernatorial race.
In a statement to Billboard about McAuliffe’s Swiftie-targeting ad campaign, Democratic Party of Virginia spokesman Manuel Bonder said: “No matter the industry, Youngkin has shown he would rip off anyone for a profit. What happened here is a continuation of Glenn Youngkin’s abhorrent track record of shipping jobs overseas, raising rents on seniors, and harming working families across our country. When it comes to Taylor Swift’s music: What did Glenn know and when did he know it? Virginians deserve answers.”
For his part, Youngkin rep Christian Martinez responded: “Terry McAuliffe has reached the stage of desperation in his campaign where he’s rolling out the most baseless attacks to see what sticks. It’s a pathetic fall that could only be achieved by a 43-year political hack.”
Swift is now re-recording her first six records as a response to the sale of her master recordings, beginning with the April release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and continuing Nov. 12 with Red (Taylor’s Version).