Taylor Swift's video for 'Anti-Hero' has been edited to delete a scene featuring a scale with the word 'fat' on it after activists argued it was fatphobic
A Taylor Swift music video has been edited to remove a scene accused of being fatphobic.
The controversial "Anti-Hero" clip showed Swift standing on a scale with the word "fat" on it.
Some said it was offensive, despite Swift saying she struggled with body-image issues in the past.
Taylor Swift's music video for her recent single "Anti-Hero" has been edited to remove a scene that has been accused of being fatphobic.
The clip depicted Swift standing on a scale with the word "fat" appearing where the measurements should be while she sings, "I stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror." The camera then pans to Swift looking at a second version of herself, who shakes her head.
On October 26, Variety reported that the video had been edited on Apple Music to remove the frame that shows the scale. On October 27 it was also removed from the YouTube video after it had received 35 million views.
On October 21, the day of the video's release, Swift posted a tweet saying the video represented her "nightmare scenarios and intrusive thoughts."
As Rebecca Jennings, Shira Tarlo, and Gabriela Fernandez of Vox noted, the song references Swift's "insecurities and self-loathing," and the scene featuring a scale appears to be part of her insecurity about weight — which Swift has previously spoken about.
It sparked controversy on social media as activists and health professionals argued that her use of the word "fat" is harmful, while others defended her right to portray her own experience.
Critics argued the scene promoted fatphobic narratives
One of the most viral Twitter threads calling out the scene was from Shira Rosenbluth, a social worker specializing in the treatment of disordered eating and Instagrammer who identifies as "fat positive."
"Taylor Swift's music video, where she looks down at the scale where it says 'fat,' is a shitty way to describe her body image struggles. Fat people don't need to have it reiterated yet again that it's everyone's worst nightmare to look like us," she wrote in a tweet on October 21 that has received over 40,000 likes.
Rosenbluth's viral Twitter thread ended with, "Having an eating disorder doesn't excuse fatphobia. It's not hard to say, 'I'm struggling with my body image today' instead of I'm a fat, disgusting pig."
—Shira Rose (@theshirarose) October 21, 2022
Several people echoed the sentiment, saying the scene is damaging because it reiterates the negative connotations around the word "fat," which have historically led to the discrimination of people who live in larger bodies.
Criticism of Swift also spread on TikTok, where various videos highlighting similar concerns garnered hundreds of thousands of views.
Erin Phillips, a registered dietitian licensed in Washington state, told Insider at the time, "Taylor saying that her worst nightmares or intrusive thoughts is the scale saying she is fat is incredibly damaging to actual fat people. She's saying, 'I feel terrible when my body feels the way your body is.' The message she is sending, especially to her young fans in larger bodies, is so so hurtful."
Many fans then urged Swift to apologize for the video. Some likened Swift to Lizzo and Beyoncé, who both apologized and removed lyrics from their songs after they were criticized for being ableist.
Swift's history with disordered eating led some to argue for a more sympathetic take
Swift previously spoke about her struggles with disordered eating, talking in the 2020 documentary "Miss Americana" about being triggered to "just starve a little bit" when she saw pictures of herself.
In an interview with Variety in 2020, she said, "My relationship with food was exactly the same psychology that I applied to everything else in my life: If I was given a pat on the head, I registered that as good. If I was given a punishment, I registered that as bad."
Swift also revealed she had issues with under-eating during her tour for the album "Reputation" in 2018.
Given "Anti-Hero" aims to reflect Swift's insecurities, some people argued it's damaging to suggest she shouldn't be able to open up about body image.
"If you think any time people with an eating disorder speak about their issues it's fatphobic, you're facilitating the idea that people shouldn't talk about it," read one tweet, which received 133 likes.
Serena Nangia of Project Heal, a nonprofit that advocates equitable treatment access for eating disorders, told Insider she was "not surprised" that Swift's fear of being perceived as "fat" would be displayed in a song about her insecurities.
Nangia stressed how crucial it is that people with experience of disordered eating are able to "express what they're feeling without judgment." However, she added, "We also believe it's important that thin people in conversations about fatphobia and disordered eating hold an awareness of the impact they have when depicting common struggles over fears of gaining weight."
The response to the edited video has been mixed
Many fans have said they are "glad" the video has now been edited, and that the change has had no impact on the message Swift was trying to convey in the scene or in the song itself.
Several said that it was good of Swift to listen "to fans who voiced that they were hurt by this," and rectify "the harm" she caused to people who identify as fat.
Others, many of whom defended Swift from accusations of fatphobia, have suggested she was "bullied" into editing the video and lamented the possibility that she wouldn't continue to speak up about her insecurities following the backlash.
Representatives for Swift did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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