Ten years after its air date, an old Taylor Swift interview on Ellen resurfaced and brought with it a reminder of the longstanding sexism in the music industry.
A clip resurfaced on TikTok of the original 2013 Ellen segment next to a 2020 Zane Lowe interview where Swift alludes to the incident.
In the original interview filmed during the throes of Taylor Swift’s Red era — a nostalgic time filled with fedora hats, sincerely adorned suspenders and the overarching media narrative that Taylor Swift was boy crazy — host Ellen DeGeneres asked Swift to play a game of "Ring the Bell if You See an Ex Boyfriend."
Swift tries to decline the prompt to play several times but DeGeneres carries on, rolling through a Rolodex of photos of Swift beside famed heartthrobs like Taylor Lautner and John Mayer, some of whom were Swift’s former lovers, and others who she just took a photo with. The “joke” was that Swift would ring the bell placed beside her each time DeGeneres landed on an ex-beau.
An embarrassed Swift mutters, “I don’t know if I’m gonna do this,” as the photos flash onscreen, and she gets more uncomfortable throughout the duration of the deranged slideshow. As Ratajkowski put it, “She’s literally begging her to stop.”
While Ratajkowski’s anger brought a new light to the original clip, the TikTok she responded to also shows Swift’s disdain for the game.
In a 2020 Zane Lowe Apple Music 1 interview, Swift speaks back to her 2013 media persona: “When I was like, 23, people were just kind of reducing me to… kind of making slideshows of my dating life and putting people in there that I’d sat next to at a party once and deciding that my songwriting was like a trick rather than a skill and a craft.”
This certainly wasn’t the first time Swift has faced a sexist interviewer and likely won’t be the last, but she’s always armed with a quick-witted response and a league of supermodel anti-sexism crusaders (like Emrata).
Photo courtesy of Darian DiCianno/BFA
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