Charlie Puth

With a Single Line on ‘Tortured Poets Department,’ Taylor Swift Has Brought All of Charlie Puth’s Past Controversies Back to the Spotlight

If you’re wondering why Charlie Puth is trending, and what it has to do with Taylor Swift, the K-pop band Stray Kids, and the geopolitical climate in the Middle East, you’ve come to the right place. Also, that is a sentence I never thought I’d have to type in my life, but here we are. 2024 is full of surprises.

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This begins with, who else, Taylor Swift. Her most recent album The Tortured Poets Department, is a choice, mainly because it’s about Matty Healy, and that guy is the worst. However, the album’s titular song contains the line “we declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist” and, naturally, people have some thoughts about that. (Personally, I think they’re focusing on the wrong line because immediately after the Puth line, she describes scratching Healy’s head like he’s a dog with tattoos and I find that objectively absurd in the best way.)

Here’s where it gets complicated and contentious: According to unverified screenshots seen on social media, Puth allegedly liked a post from Stranger Things‘ Noah Schnapp decrying Hamas as well as people who support the Palestinian people. There are also other alleged instances of Puth liking as well as posting his own messages of support for Israel amid the country’s ongoing military action in Gaza. (I say “alleged” because, like the reaction to Schnapp’s post, most of this is based on unverified screenshots.)

Additionally, Stray Kids, a K-pop band, just announced this week that they are releasing a song with Puth called “Lose My Breath.” So the controversy is this: Swift has called attention to Puth, which is kind of funny because this guy has many hits (so how much bigger does she think he could get, exactly?) Concurrently, Puth is releasing a new single with a popular boyband, so Swift’s declaration is giving Puth, and by proxy, this song, a boost. Normally that would be a great thing for everyone involved. However, as a result, his past alleged interactions on social media, as well as other questionable behavior, are also being given a boost, which has translated to some people calling for a boycott of the collab song due to his perceived callousness towards the people of Palestine amidst what the UN is calling an “increasingly horrific human rights and humanitarian crisis.”

Finally, with all the increased attention on Charlie Puth, some of his past statements about music producer Dr. Luke have resurfaced and they’re not only bad but also just really dumb. After Dr. Luke was accused by Kesha of sexual and emotional abuse, Puth said Kesha’s lawsuit was “devastating” for both parties during an interview. He then took a real hard right at the end of it by saying “Nobody wins at the end of the day,” adding, “I hope Kesha comes out with some new songs because we really need that.”

That is the absolute embodiment of the face-palm emoji. Obviously, if you need me to explain why saying someone being accused of sexual abuse by someone else does not weigh equally on both parties, you’re probably not receptive to the message to begin with. However, I think we can all agree it’s inane to focus on Kesha’s pause in musical output, instead of on her safety and humanity. At least, I hope we can.

Back to the matter at hand, though. Here’s what I know about the Puth controversy: If this had taken place on any other Taylor Swift album, I would confidently say that had she known what kind of hornet’s nest this could kick up, she would have tweaked the lyric. However, she just released an entire album (at least half-album) pining over a man who cheerfully gave a Nazi salute at one of his concerts and who had no problem going on a podcast where the co-hosts had previously said that Swift’s mom looks like Miss Piggy, so I know nothing.

Well, I do know one thing: Charlie Puth probably doesn’t need to be a bigger artist. That guy did the theme song, along with Wiz Khalifa, to Furious 7, and, well, it doesn’t get much bigger than that.

 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)


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Author
Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.