Readings — From the January 2018 issue

Can’t Touch This

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From testimony given by the singer Taylor Swift in a Colorado district court in August. Swift alleges that David Mueller, a host at KYGO radio in Denver, groped her when she posed for a photo with him and his girlfriend during a meet and greet with fans in 2013. Swift’s team informed the station, and Mueller was subsequently fired. In 2015, he sued Swift for $3 million. The court decided in favor of Swift. McFarland is Mueller’s attorney.

Gabriel McFarland: You contend that Mr. Mueller inappropriately touched you on one occasion.

Taylor Swift: Yes.

McFarland: I think you said it was more of a grab.

Swift: It was a definite grab. A very long grab.

McFarland:You contend that Mr. Mueller put his hand underneath your skirt and grabbed your bare bottom.

Swift: Yes. He stayed latched on to my bare ass cheek as I lurched away from him, visibly uncomfortably.

McFarland: Can you describe how you moved away from Mr. Mueller?

Swift: The three of us were standing in a row, like you would pose for a photo. I felt him grab onto my ass cheek underneath my skirt. The first couple of milliseconds, I thought it must be a mistake, and so I moved to the side very quickly so that his hand would be removed from my ass cheek, and it didn’t let go.

McFarland: And you were trying to get as far away from Mr. Mueller as you could?

Swift: I got as far away from him as I possibly could, being that I was intertwined with two people with my hands on their upper backs.

McFarland: Mr. Mueller never grabbed your butt outside of your clothing?

Swift: He grabbed my ass underneath my skirt.

McFarland: So you acknowledge that Mr. Mueller never grabbed your butt outside of your clothing.

Swift: Rather than grabbing my ass outside of my clothing, he grabbed my ass underneath my clothing.

McFarland: And Mr. Mueller never otherwise touched your rear outside of your clothing.

Swift: He was busy grabbing my ass underneath my skirt, so he didn’t grab it outside of my skirt.

McFarland: And other than the incident underneath the skirt, Mr. Mueller didn’t otherwise touch you inappropriately?

Swift: Other than grabbing my ass underneath my skirt against my will and refusing to let go, he did not otherwise touch me inappropriately.

McFarland: After Mr. Mueller exited the photo booth with Ms. Melcher, you continued on with the meet and greet.

Swift: Yes.

McFarland: You continued on as if nothing had happened?

Swift: As soon as Mr. Mueller and Ms. Melcher exited the meet-and-greet area, there was another group of fans in the photo booth, and I would have had to say to them, “Excuse me, can you please leave while I talk to my team.”

McFarland: You think the fans would not have understood that you needed just a couple seconds, so they step out and then they step back in? You think that would have ruined their experience?

Swift: I think that when people are excited and they’ve been waiting in line for hours and they’ve shown up early for the concert, I don’t want to make anything awkward or uncomfortable or make them feel insecure. I want people to have a good time at my meet and greets and my concerts. I do not want people to stick their hands up my skirt and grab my ass.

McFarland: You could have looked at the next guests and said, “I’m really excited to meet you guys, I just need two seconds.”

Swift: Yes, and your client could have taken a normal photo with me.

McFarland: Do you think it’s odd that your personal, professionally trained bodyguard let this big guy get close to you, put his hand under your skirt, grab your butt, stay latched on as you tried to get away, and not do anything?

Swift: What Mr. Mueller did was very intentional, and the location was very intentional, and it happened very quickly. I wasn’t going to blame Greg Dent for something that Mr. Mueller did. None of us could have expected this to happen.

McFarland: But if Mr. Dent was watching and paying attention, do you agree that he had to see you try to get away from him?

Swift: I feel like these are questions for him.

McFarland: So you’re not critical of your bodyguard for allowing Mr. Mueller to grope you and then waltz out of the photo booth?

Swift: No, I’m critical of your client for sticking his hand under my skirt and grabbing my ass.

McFarland: What was your reaction when you learned that Mr. Mueller had been fired?

Swift: I did not have a reaction.

McFarland: You weren’t surprised that Mr. Mueller was fired.

Swift: I just wanted to never have to see him again, and yet here we are, years later, and he and you are suing me, and I’m being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions, not mine.

McFarland: Do you think Mr. Mueller got what he deserved?

Swift: I don’t feel anything about Mr. Mueller.

McFarland: You don’t care about Mr. Mueller?

Swift: I don’t have any feelings about a person that I don’t know.

McFarland: Let’s talk about the photo for a minute. You contend that this photograph shows Mr. Mueller’s hand under your skirt grabbing your bare butt as you’re trying to get away.

Swift: Yes.

McFarland: Yesterday we heard from your mom that this dress is stiff like a lampshade, or something like that. 

Swift: Yes.

McFarland: Can you explain to me how, given the stiffness of this skirt—if Mr. Mueller’s hand is actually grabbing your bare cheek in this photograph, why isn’t the front of your skirt someplace else?

Swift: Because my ass is located in the back of my body.

McFarland: But the skirt is stiff, so we just talked about when you lift up one side, the whole skirt comes up like a lampshade.

Swift: He didn’t lift up the front. He put his hand underneath the back of my skirt, latched on to my ass cheek, and wouldn’t let go.

McFarland: In this picture, you’re obviously closer to Ms. Melcher than you are to Mr. Mueller.

Swift: Yes. She did not have her hand on my ass.

McFarland: Ms. Swift, have you ever watched police shows?

Swift: Yes. I named my cat after detective Olivia Benson from Law and Order: SVU.

McFarland: Have you ever wondered why, in the police shows, when they show a lineup, they include five or six guys, they don’t put just one in the lineup?

Swift: In order to create an accurate lineup for this, we would have had to have other men in the meet and greet who had stuck their hand up my skirt and grabbed onto my ass cheek, but there was no one else like this. That was the only person who did that, in my whole career, in my whole life.

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