Taylor Swift has bad blood with a Florida student behind several social media accounts dedicated to tracking celebrity private jets and their flight emissions.
Jack Sweeney, a student at the University of Central Florida, received a cease-and-desist letter in December from the “Look What You Made Me Do” singer’s legal team alleging he “engaged in stalking and harassing behavior” by publishing “real-time and precise information” about the singer’s whereabouts. Sweeney published details about Swift’s flights — including jet model, takeoff and landing locations and carbon emissions per flight on his @taylorswiftjets social media pages.
“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,” said the letter, reviewed by The Times. “Ms. Swift has dealt with stalkers and other individuals who wish her harm since she was a teenager.”
Along with Swift, Sweeney has tracked the flight details of other celebrities — including makeup mogul Kylie Jenner and SpaceX chief Elon Musk — through his @CelebJets on X (formerly Twitter), which has been suspended. Sweeney’s jet-tracking was already a headache for Swift in July of 2022, after a study by the Yard, citing @CelebJets, listed the Grammy winner as the No. 1 celebrity “offender” when it comes to private jet carbon dioxide emissions.
The 2022 report said Swift’s 170 flights on her private plane emitted approximately 9,142 tons of carbon dioxide. Her rep said at the time the singer wasn’t all to blame. Swift, who previously owned two personal planes, is reportedly now down to one.
The cease-and-desist-letter requested that Sweeney put his @taylorswiftjets to rest, alleging that his account provided people seeking to harm Swift a “roadmap to carry out their plans.”
Last month, a Seattle man was reportedly arrested and charged with harassment and stalking when he appeared at the 34-year-old pop diva’s home in New York City. The man, identified as David Crowe, had visited her home approximately 30 times since late November, CBS News reported.
“We cannot comment on any ongoing police investigation but can confirm the timing of stalkers suggests a connection,” a spokesperson for Swift told The Times. “His posts tell you exactly when and where she would be.”
The cease-and-desist also cited several comments on social media that condemned Sweeney’s account but did not reveal who left the comments. Swift’s legal team also alleged that Sweeney, 21, was in violation of several state laws, but did not specify which.
Sweeney told the Washington Post, which broke news of the letter on Tuesday, that he saw the December notice from Swift’s team as an “attempt to scare him away from sharing public data.” The Post reported that Sweeney’s accounts draw from public data available from the Federal Aviation Administration and “volunteer hobbyists who can track the aircraft via the signals they broadcast.”
“This information is already out there,” Sweeney told the Post. “Her team thinks they can control the world.”
Sweeney’s legal representative, Florida lawyer James Slater, fired back at Swift’s attorneys, saying that his client’s account posed “no threat” to Swift and her safety, and “engaged in protected speech that does not violate any of Ms. Swift’s legal rights,” according to the Post.
“This isn’t about putting a GPS tracker on someone and invading their privacy. It’s using public information to track the jet of a public figure,” Slater said. “This is their means to try to quash a PR issue and bully my client to have the bad coverage die down.”
The letter warned Sweeney that Swift would take legal action if he did not stop his @taylorswiftjets social media activity by Dec. 26, 2023. “We will not hesitate to escalate this matter as needed,” the letter said.
Interest in Swift’s whereabouts has increased in recent months, amid her highly public romance with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. With Super Bowl LVIII just around the corner on Feb. 11, Swifties and football fans alike wondered whether she could make it in time to support Kelce, 34, after a Feb. 10 stop in Tokyo for her Eras tour. The Chiefs will face off against the San Francisco 49ers at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Last week, the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., offered a response: “Despite the 12-hour flight and 17-hour time difference, the Embassy can confidently Speak Now to say that if she departs Tokyo in the evening after her concert, she should comfortably arrive in Las Vegas before the Super Bowl begins.”
News of the cease-and-desist letter comes just days after Swift won big at the 2024 Grammys, breaking the record for the artist with the most album of the year wins. On the Crypto.com Arena stage on Sunday, Swift also announced her new album, “The Tortured Poets Department.” She revealed at a recent show she planned to announce the new LP if “I’m lucky enough to win one thing” at the Grammys.
“I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I’ve been keeping from you for the last two years,” she said, accepting the pop vocal album prize. “Which is that my brand-new album comes out April 19.”
Swift revealed her new tracklist earlier this week: 16 songs with a bonus track for physical copies. Like her previous album, Swift’s “Tortured Poets Department” will enlist other artists. Rapper Post Malone will join for “Fortnight” and band Florence + The Machine will lend its talents to “Florida!!!”
Perhaps that second song is Swift’s roundabout way of flipping the tables on Sweeney, revealing his whereabouts.