Even some Swifties have agreed on one criticism of Taylor Swift’s Midnights release: a scale reading “FAT” in the music video for “Anti-Hero.” Now Swift, who wrote and directed the video, appears to have responded to that criticism by changing the scene. Fans noticed, and Vulture confirmed, that the music video on Apple Music no longer shows a scale saying “FAT” after Swift steps on it. Instead, Swift’s anti-hero clone just looks at her, disappointed. Swift also later edited the music video on YouTube. Vulture has reached out to representatives for Swift and Apple Music for comment.
Upon the video’s release, many called the moment anti-fat, because of both Swift’s portrayal of being fat as a negative and the message coming from Swift, who is by all accounts not fat. (Although Swift has spoken about her struggles with body image in the past, including in the 2020 documentary Miss Americana.) “To me, this scene isn’t just harmful because it reinforces the idea of being ‘fat’ as bad; it’s harmful because the word ‘fat’ is triggering to many of us who actually exist in these bodies,” wrote Olivia Truffaut-Wong on the Cut. Debate about the video even made its way to The View, where the hosts were in rare agreement that Swift should be allowed to use the word fat in the video. Sunny Hostin said critics “missed the point.”
Swift editing the video is the latest instance this year of a musician changing an insensitive message in their work after it’s released. Lizzo and Beyoncé each struck an ableist word from their songs “Grrrls” and “Heated,” respectively, after advocates criticized the lyrics. “Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language,” Lizzo said in a statement at the time. Meanwhile, at least that’s one anti-hero behavior Swifties don’t have to exhaust themselves rooting for.
This post has been updated.