Scott Swift, Taylor Swift, and Andrea Swift pose at the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards

Taylor Swift’s Father’s Assault Allegation Renews Discussion of Press Boundaries

Taylor Swift’s father, Scott Swift, has been accused of assaulting a photographer, and the incident has once more renewed conversation about the necessity of the press and paparazzi respecting celebrities’ boundaries.

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Scott, a financial advisor, largely stays out of the spotlight, although Taylor has commented on their close relationship in the past. So some may have been surprised when reports arose that the 71-year-old father allegedly assaulted a photographer. The alleged incident, which occurred in Australia where Taylor has been performing on her Eras Tour, is still being investigated by police. No charges have been filed, but police confirmed an investigation of an assault was underway. Since the police have not given details, readers have had to rely on statements from the photographer, Ben McDonald, and Taylor’s team to get an idea of what happened.

Both sides have painted very different pictures of the incident. According to McDonald, he and several other photographers were being “very civil” when Taylor’s team began shoving umbrellas at them unprompted. After Taylor got into her car, he alleges Scott unnecessarily ran up to him and punched him in the face.

Meanwhile, Taylor’s team released a statement alleging the photographers were “aggressively pushing their way towards Taylor, grabbing at her personnel, and threatening to throw a female staff member in the water.” While the details remain murky, as video footage and details about McDonald come out, many have begun speaking out in defense of Scott.

#FreeScottSwift trends after alleged assault

Although Scott has not been arrested or charged with anything concerning the incident, users began to use the hashtag #FreeScottSwift or simply #ScottSwift to express support for him. These users aren’t condoning violence, but many believe that he was merely acting in self-defense and defense of his daughter while McDonald was out of line.

The incident bears similarities to one that recently took place between Jacob Elordi and a radio producer in Australia. In both cases, the police’s vague statements left the details murky. However, the Elordi incident also raised conservation about press boundaries, given that the radio producer admitted to approaching and filming Elordi while making a gross Saltburn joke, which then escalated into a physical altercation.

Separately, Andrew Scott also had the press asking him disgusting questions about Saltburn, which he wasn’t even in. In this instance, he walked away from the interview, but both Scott’s and Elordi’s experiences raised outrage and showed that the press can overstep boundaries verbally as well as physically.

Meanwhile, some users have expressed skepticism over McDonald’s account of events in the Swift incident, especially since McDonald was one of two photographers Nicole Kidman once successfully got a restraining order against in 2005. McDonald and Jamie Fawcett were ordered to temporarily stay away from Kidman after they staked out at her residence and may have been involved in planting a listening device in her home. This doesn’t mean his account here is false, but it does give weight to Swift’s team’s statement as it aligns with McDonald’s past behavior.

Partial footage of the incident has also been circulating online. Once Taylor is in the car, it appears the photographers surge forward, with Scott seemingly walking towards the scuffle. Viewers also get a clear view of security personnel using their bodies to try to block the advances of the photographers. Meanwhile, viewers have pointed out that the photographers surged towards Taylor on a narrow ferry wharf late at night, which does pose a security threat.

The photographers also allegedly made verbal threats and continued advancing despite Taylor blocking her face with an umbrella and security trying to stop them.

If there wasn’t any active threat, and Scott threw the punch when the situation was de-escalated, his actions can’t be excused. After all, while paparazzi should respect the wishes of their subjects, it’s not illegal to take photos in a public place without permission. However, there’s a chance that the photographers’ actions went beyond being a nuisance and into threatening territory, in which case Scott should have a right to defend himself and protect his daughter.

Additionally, there does seem to be a double standard in these situations. While Scott and Elordi are being investigated for assault, why aren’t McDonald or the radio producer being investigated for harassment or stalking? In Elordi’s case, one could even argue what the radio producer said qualified as sexual harassment.

One can denounce the alleged violence in these cases while also admitting that the press’s actions were not acceptable and questioning why these instances likely would’ve gone unreported and without police involvement if the victim of the apparent stalking or harassment hadn’t responded with force.

(featured image: Rick Diamond / ACMA2013 / Getty)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.