The Taylor Swift Trial, From a Female Radio DJ’s Perspective [OPINION]
If you're interested, I'd like to pull back the curtains on the world of radio vs. celebrity, as well as the world of sexual assault allegations. I have experience in both.
This is the briefest overview you'll find of the Taylor Swift trial - Taylor did a meet-and-greet, took a pic with a Colorado radio DJ and his girlfriend, among many other fans. She then accused the DJ, David Mueller, of grabbing her bare butt under her dress. He was fired the following Monday. He's suing her for $3 million - she's counter-suing for $1.
Here's the picture in question: based on her testimony, she says that he grabbed her butt, and she moved away, closer to his girlfriend. Based on Mueller's testimony, Taylor put her arm around his girlfriend, and he was just trying to get in the picture.
It's a very slippery slope on both sides here, and I say this as somebody who has been sexually assaulted. I also say that as a radio DJ, so I feel like I have a unique perspective.
First of all, let me say that I don't know the DJ in question personally. I know OF him, I've worked with him from afar. David Mueller had a GREAT job in radio - he had a salary of $150,000 a year. Lemme tell ya, that's a hard salary to come by. We sure as hell don't make money like that, and we don't know many who do. He worked at a legendary, top-rated country station. Radio jobs, in general, are hard to come by nowadays.
We worked in country radio for four years, and if there's one thing we learned quickly, it's that Taylor Swift is the DARLING of radio executives. She treats them well, they treat her well. She remembers names, she'll send you a handwritten letter, etc. You do NOT mess with her in the radio world.
There's a reason that she's as big of a star as she is. Not only does she treat her fans well, but she treats radio well, too. And a lot of celebrities/artists don't give radio the time of day anymore. Doesn't matter if you're a station in a big city like Denver, or a small one like Wausau, Wisconsin. Our old boss received a handwritten thank-you note from her.
Meet-and-greets can be awkward, as she described in her testimony. She's done thousands of them - I don't doubt that she knows what she's talking about.
The picture is, well, just that - a picture. To me, it looks like his hand is on her butt. Pat says he's unsure if his hand was up her skirt, but they're both just opinions. The only two people who really know what happened are Taylor and David.
Her security team questioned him about it immediately after, and he was kicked out of her show and banned from all future shows. So, for those of you saying that she waited to speak up, she didn't. Legalities can be long and drawn out. And, as I know personally, sexual assault victims don't often speak up because we're afraid that nobody will believe us.
Taylor was very specific that this has NEVER happened to her before, so yes, I do believe her. She's met thousands of people over the course of her career. A lot of celebrities won't even TOUCH their fans in meet-and-greets.
However, the same way she's met thousands of fans, Mueller has tons of pictures with celebrities. Radio DJ's are part of most meet-and-greets at shows; it's an easy pass for us to get. He hasn't done this before, and hasn't done it since...that we know of. Why Taylor? Why that night? He claims that he wasn't drinking, Taylor says that he was. Alcohol is never an excuse, but was it a factor?
Again, I don't know this guy personally, so this isn't a comment on him. But, there's a lot of radio DJ's with egos the size of the Empire State Building. Could that have factored into this? I don't know. I don't know if he's an egomaniac, but after 10 years in radio, I can tell you that there are a LOT of BIG egos in this business - male AND female.
But, here's my question: why, WHY would ANYBODY with a great-paying job in radio jeopardize his career to cop a feel on one of the biggest celebrities on the planet? I just don't get it. This guy doesn't have a criminal record of sexual assault. That's not a presumption of guilt or innocence; that's a genuine question. If he was a repeat offender, the answer would be as clear as day.
Her lawyers claim that he didn't work hard enough to get a job after being fired from KYGO, and that he basically blacklisted himself. Again, after being a 10-year-vet of this business, I call BS. This guy will have a VERY hard time getting hired from now on. He will forever be "that guy," and nobody wants to hire somebody who's been on trial (guilty or not) of groping Taylor Swift.
Here's one of the bigger problems - the Swifties are out in force. Gossip rags are posting stories like this, which sway their audience. Taylor Swift fans, who don't know her personally, are out in her defense as if they're her siblings. She can do no wrong, as is seen with many other celebs. It's scary; it almost resembles brainwashing.
I believe that this is a case of sexual harassment. But sexual assault? No. Remember: this is a lawsuit. The DJ is not being charged for being a sex offender.
I'm on the fence about the whole thing. I see both sides of it, from a unique POV. What do you think?