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Taylor Swift Grammys footage altered to add pro-Trump message

A video spreading online appears to show Taylor Swift holding a banner at the 66th annual Grammy Awards that falsely claims former US president Donald Trump won the 2020 election. But the footage is doctored; the original clip from entertainment magazine Variety depicts the pop star wearing black gloves and holding no such sign.

"AWWW... THANK YOU!!!" says a February 4, 2024 post on X, formerly Twitter, from an account called "il Donaldo Trumpo."

The clip appears to show Swift holding a red sign that says: "TRUMP WON. DEMOCRATS CHEATED!" The popular pro-Trump page also posted the video to Telegram and Rumble.

<span>Screenshot from X taken February 5, 2024</span>
Screenshot from X taken February 5, 2024

The account has previously shared manipulated images of the singer-songwriter and other public figures, as well as altered videos of President Joe Biden and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Swift, whose star reached unprecedented heights in 2023 with the highest-grossing music tour in history and Time magazine's Person of the Year honor, captured a fourth Grammy during the February 4 ceremony for Album of the Year -- the most by any artist. The 34-year-old also announced a new body of work is on the way.

Experts say Swift's sky-high approval ratings and sway over her fans could make her support valuable in the 2024 US presidential election, in which Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican Party's nomination. That influence has made her a target for political misinformation online, even though Swift has not yet endorsed a candidate.

AFP has previously debunked claims that Trump won the 2020 election, which Biden clinched with 306 electoral votes. There is no evidence fraud affected that outcome.

And while the red carpet footage of Swift holding a pro-Trump sign rocketed across X and other platforms -- including in Portuguese -- it is altered.

Variety, whose logo appears in the corner of the video, posted the original footage on X less than an hour before the il Donaldo Trumpo account shared the manipulated version (archived here).

The unedited video from the Los Angeles event shows Swift posing for cameras in a strapless white Schiaparelli gown, a watch choker and several silver necklaces.

While the doctored clip depicts Swift holding the sign with her bare hands, Variety's footage shows she wore black opera gloves.

AFP photos from the night show Swift's outfit -- with no pro-Trump message in sight.

<span>US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift arrives for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on February 4, 2024</span><div><span>Robyn BECK</span><span>AFP</span></div>
US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift arrives for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on February 4, 2024
Robyn BECKAFP
<span>US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift arrives for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on February 4, 2024</span><div><span>Robyn BECK</span><span>AFP</span></div>
US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift arrives for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on February 4, 2024
Robyn BECKAFP

Targeted by disinformation

Swift's global star power and blossoming romance with American football star Travis Kelce have drawn the ire of right-wing conspiracy theorists who claim the relationship is a plot to rig the Super Bowl and build momentum for Biden ahead of the 2024 election.

Baseless claims that she is a "Pentagon asset" added to other disinformation targeting her, from accusations of witchcraft to allegations she is killing people with Covid-19 vaccines.

The famously tight-lipped Swift remained quiet during Trump's 2016 campaign, but she later criticized him and endorsed Biden in 2020.

More recently, she spoke against the Supreme Court's decision to overturn abortion rights. She also urged concertgoers to research which politicians support LGBTQ communities and to vote against legislation that is "harmful" to them.

In September, the nonpartisan Vote.org reported a surge in traffic immediately after the pop star posted an Instagram story encouraging fans to participate in National Voter Registration Day.

AFP has fact-checked other misinformation about US politics here.