The Disney-owned cable sports network ESPN is taking heat for pushing a video of pop star Taylor Swift on social media without telling its followers that the clip was altered to serve as a joke on the Baltimore Ravens.
The incident comes after the network was already slammed for using artificial intelligence for its work without telling fans.
In a Sunday post on Instagram, ESPN’s “SportsCenter” shared a video of Swift in concert wearing a T-shirt that reads, “Who’s the Ravens anyway? Ew.”
The clip was captioned, “Taylor’s ‘new’ T-Shirt?”
“Imagine if Taylor Swift wore this to her next concert now that the Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl,” the post said.
The singer attended the AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday to watch her current flame, Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce. The Chiefs beat the Ravens 17-10 to advance to the Super Bowl.
The video led many social media users to think that Swift wore a T-shirt at her concert that slammed the Baltimore NFL team.
View this post on Instagram
But it turns out that the video is an AI fake, and ESPN was trying its hand at a humorous post. Swift never wore any shirt dissing the Ravens.
The clip is from a concert in March, when Swift wore a shirt that read, “Who’s Taylor Swift anyway? Ew.” The message was a slap at her critics.
Swift’s many fans were probably immediately aware that ESPN had altered the shirt because T-shirt was widely discussed at the time.
?| The 22 shirt has a new message: “Who’s Taylor Swift anyway? Ew” pic.twitter.com/f710eH6VJt
— The Swift Society (@TheSwiftSociety) March 19, 2023
But many sports fans were fooled into thinking that the “Who’s the Ravens anyway?” shirt was real.
Still, soon enough, critics began slamming ESPN not only for altering the video but for even putting the network’s watermark on the video as if ESPN owned it, The Mirror reported. And the comments section of the post quickly filled with venom.
Many football fans are weary of the NFL and the media for forcing Swift on them as it is, with countless complaints on social media that she is shown throughout telecasts of Chiefs games.
Even the pop star herself seems to be tired of the focus on her when she attends her boyfriend’s games.
On Sunday, for instance, it appeared that she mouthed the words “Go away, please” when the cameras turned to her.
Taylor Swift on-camera during a Grammys promo says, “Go away, please” pic.twitter.com/XpEw6zBq0N
— Ken Fang — Very Asian (@fangsbites) January 28, 2024
Football fans are bracing for the media onslaught of a “Taylor Swift Super Bowl” when the Chiefs play the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Clearly, the NFL is enjoying the millions of young, mostly female, viewers it is gaining thanks to Swift’s interest in pro football this season.
But as the league — and ESPN — pander to Swifties, they are turning off a whole lot of their longtime fans.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.