Stars Who Can't Stand Taylor Swift

By most metrics, Taylor Swift is the most popular musician of the 2020s, and it's so much her era that when anyone famous voices anything even remotely disrespectful or negative about her, it's newsworthy. It's also foolhardy: Because so much of the world is on the side of the monumentally famous and successful voice of a generation, high-profile critics run the risk of invoking the ire of Swift's legion of devoted fans, Swift's songwriting pen, or a few days of negative media attention.

One of a handful of musicians who became hugely successful after they switched genres, the former country music star speaks up and often about whatever she feels and thinks in the form of songs, as do those who are decidedly not Swifties. She's experienced a lot of mutually bad breakups and bad business deals, or just plain alienated other famous people for a litany of reasons. Here are all the celebrities who just don't like Taylor Swift and decided to let the world know about it.

John Mayer

The original version of Taylor Swift's third album "Speak Now" hit stores and sites in 2010. The record arrived on the heels of Swift's 2009 romantic relationship with fellow singer-songwriter John Mayer. The musicians' relationship had a controversial age gap, as Mayer was 32 when the romance began, Swift was 19, and "Speak Now" included the song "Dear John," a chastising of an older man for exploiting a much younger woman. A minor chart hit in the U.S., "Dear John" found its probable intended audience — its inspiration and subject matter, John Mayer.

Mayer figured out the song was about him, and discovered Swift's feelings toward him when he first heard it, which hurt him. "I never got an email. I never got a phone call. I was really caught off-guard, and it really humiliated me," Mayer told Rolling Stone. "I will say as a songwriter that I think it's kind of cheap songwriting. I know she's the biggest thing in the world, and I'm not trying to sink anybody's ship, but I think it's abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, 'Wait till he gets a load of this!'"

In 2013, Mayer released the song "Paper Doll," which dismisses the complaints of a former lover. "Yeah, songwriters write songs because of people, about people," Mayer said on NBC's "Today" (via Us Weekly) when asked if the song could be about his prominent ex.

Jared Leto

Not just the star of comic book movies like "Morbius" and "Suicide Squad," an Academy Award winner for "Dallas Buyers Club," and the leader of a bizarre cult, Jared Leto is also a musician. Since the late '90s, he's been the singer and chief creative presence in the chart-topping goth-alternative rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars.

In 2015, the band convened in a recording studio to work on a new album, and, seeking songwriting fodder from the popular tunes of the day, somebody put on Taylor Swift's "1989" album. Video of Leto listening and reacting to "Welcome to New York," "Style," and "Blank Space" was captured and published by TMZ. He maintains a blank face while listening to "Blank Space," and then, after commenting, "I like this verse actually" about one small bit, he dismissed Swift and her music wholesale."I mean f*** her, I don't give a f*** about her, it's whatever works best for us," Leto said.

Chloe Grace Moretz

Entry into Taylor Swift's inner circle of famous and artistically accomplished young women, colloquially referred to as a "squad," is by invitation only. It's a forever-evolving collection of pals, and in the mid-2010s, Swift reached out to teenage actor Chloe Grace Moretz, at the time best known for her work in "Hugo," "Carrie," and the "Kick-Ass" movies. Moretz was close friends with Selena Gomez, already one of the more famous participants in the Swift squad.

In a rejection and repudiation of that squad, as well as the entire concept of squads (other celebrities took Swift's lead and formed their own all-female collectives), Moretz declined the offer, citing its anti-feminist undertones. "They appropriate exclusivity. They're cliques!" Moretz told Complex in 2016 before declining to elaborate on her decision beyond a simple, repeated "yes" when asked if she was specifically invited into Swift's crew. "She's a very talented person," Moretz demurred.

Kim Kardashian

Rappers can be really weird people: In 2016, Kanye West released "Famous," in which he suggested he could have sex with Taylor Swift if he wanted, and that he's responsible for her fame, what with his interruption of her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. The video for "Famous" depicted West in bed with a nude mannequin made up to look like Swift. West claimed that Swift approved. "Called Taylor and had a hour long convo with her about the line and she thought it was funny and gave her blessing," West wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter (via The Guardian). Swift denied as much. "Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single 'Famous' on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message," her publicist Tree Paine said in a statement to USA Today.

The scandal died down, but in July 2016, West's wife and one-time self-professed Swift super-fan Kim Kardashian uploaded to her Snapchat account recordings of the West-Swift phone call. In 2020, the complete phone call was anonymously surfaced, which Swift believes Kardashian was behind. "You have a fully manufactured frame job, in an illegally recorded phone call, which Kim Kardashian edited and then put out to say to everyone that I was a liar," Swift told Time. On her 2024 album "The Tortured Poets Department," Swift included the curiously capitalized diss track "thanK you aIMee."

Scooter Braun

One of the most successful and star-making agents in the music industry, Scooter Braun became famous in his own right as he helped guide the careers of Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and J. Balvin. In 2019, Braun's company Ithaca Holdings spent $300 million to acquire the Big Machine Label Group, including its most lucrative asset: the masters to Taylor Swift's back catalog, at the time six albums.

"All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I've received at this hands for years," Swift wrote on Tumblr upon news of the sale, alleging that Braun helped orchestrate the Kanye West and Kim Kardashian attacks on her in 2016. "Now Scooter has stripped me of my life's work, that I wasn't given an opportunity to buy." Swift, a musician severely mistreated by a record label, then systematically re-recorded each of her six albums so that fans could buy those and deny royalty payments going to Braun.

Painted as a villain by Swift, the musician's fans publicly attacked Braun online. He tried to reconcile with Swift after the deal closed, but couldn't get her to speak with him. "I think that when you have a conflict with someone, it's very hard to resolve it if you're not willing to have a conversation," he told the Los Angeles Times.

Damon Albarn

What do the Gorillaz really look like in real life? Take a look at Damon Albarn. He distinguished himself as one of the leading voices in rock and pop over the last three decades with multiple distinct eras. In addition to fronting the impactful Britpop band Blur, he's a writer and singer for the animated avatar-fronted Gorillaz.

Over the years, he's grown jaded with the international music scene and its emphasis on sensibility over craft. "Name me someone who's not," Albarn replied when asked by the Los Angeles Times if he thought contemporary musicians lean on "sound and attitude." When the reporter brought up singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, Albarn bristled. "She doesn't write her own songs," he said, before being corrected — Swift composes alone and with collaborators. "Co-writing is very different to writing. I'm not hating on anybody, I'm just saying there's a big difference between a songwriter and a songwriter who co-writes. Doesn't mean that the outcome can't be really great," Albarn explained, before praising Billie Eilish's work and favorably comparing it to Swift's. "I'm more attracted to that than to Taylor Swift. It's just darker — less endlessly upbeat."

Ed Droste

Grizzly Bear was at first an early 2000s experimental solo act for Brooklyn musician Ed Droste, until he recruited some cohorts to flesh out a full band. The group would become one of the most prominent and acclaimed indie rock bands of the decade. In July 2015, according to Stereogum, Droste used X, formerly known as Twitter, to share a picture of an article that likened Taylor Swift to Regina George, the meanest of the mean girls in the movie "Mean Girls." Droste added the caption, "Obsessed that people are catching on." In more tweets, Droste called out Swift for "calculating" and "self serving" behavior of which he has "first hand experience" of enduring her supposed wrath. "She's been given a free pass for too long," he added.

Droste's X/Twitter page was then beset by pointed defenses and counterpoints by Swift's fans. "She frightens me genuinely," Droste said of Swift in response to the coordinated follower effort, also noting that Swift's people leveled anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT epithets at him. The whole affair ended in August 2015, when Droste deleted his X/Twitter account.

Calvin Harris

In May 2016, superstar DJ Calvin Harris released the single "This is What You Came For." Featured performer Rihanna sang lead vocals on the No. 3 pop hit, while Harris and an unknown entity named Nils Sjoberg were the credited songwriters. After the song's chart ascent, Taylor Swift came forward and announced that she was Nils Sjoberg. Swift and Harris were a romantic couple at the time of the song's composition and production, and they reportedly agreed to downplay Swift's involvement so as to not let their relationship dominate the narrative.

Harris felt betrayed by Swift's after-the-fact admission, and he then downplayed her involvement in the creation of "This is What You Came For." "I wrote the music, produced the song, arranged it and cut the vocals though. And initially she wanted it kept secret, hence the pseudonym," Harris wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter (via Variety). "Hurtful to me at this point that her and her team would go so far out of their way to try and make ME look bad at this stage though."

Harris figured that Swift was behaving like a bitter former romantic partner, which he thought was strange in light of her connecting with actor Tom Hiddleston. "I figure if you're happy in your new relationship you should focus on that instead of trying to tear your ex bf down for something to do," he tweeted.