There’s renewed interest in the messy feud between Taylor Swift and Kanye West. We thought this was over, but it seems someone on the internet just can’t let it go, and now Swift’s longtime publicist, Tree Paine, is firing shots on Tay’s behalf.
Quick refresher: West and Swift have had problems since he infamously interrupted her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. The bad blood boiled over in 2016, when West rapped about Swift in “Famous.” In that track, he says, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b***h famous.” West claimed he called Swift to discuss the song in advance and alleged that she “gave her blessings.” Swift’s rep insisted there was more to the story and claimed Tay knew nothing about the b***h lyric. Here’s the twist: West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, later released a Snapchat video of the alleged call between Swift and West, and in that clip, it sure seemed like Swift was cool with West’s work.
Now that you’re all caught up on the he-said-she-said, let’s find out why this whole debacle is back in the news again. Spoiler: It has a lot to do with Swift’s fiery spokesperson, Tree Paine.
Tree Paine is taking on Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
We can all thank (or blame) Twitter user @redligion for resurrecting the “Famous” feud. On March 20, 2020, that account reportedly tweeted a previously unpublicized 25-minute segment of the infamous phone call between Taylor Swift and Kanye West. The lengthy clip seems to be swinging public opinion in Swift’s favor, to the point that Kim Kardashian has gone on the defensive.
“To be clear, the only issue I ever had around the situation was that Taylor lied through her publicist who stated that ‘Kanye never called to ask for permission…’ They clearly spoke so I let you all see that,” Kardashian tweeted. “Nobody ever denied the word ‘b***h’ was used without her permission.”
That’s when Tree Paine jumped into the fray, tweeting: “I’m Taylor’s publicist and this is my UNEDITED original statement. Btw, when you take parts out, that’s editing.” She also tacked on a red-hot burn: “P.S. who did you guys piss off to leak that video?” Paine even ended the note with laughing emojis. (Oh no she didn’t?) Oh yes, she did.
Fans will recognize Paine from Miss Americana, the 2020 Netflix documentary about Swift. Paine was front and center in a pivotal scene from 2018, when Swift decides to go public with her political views, and she’s been with Swift during several intense moments in the singer’s career.
Tree Paine is Taylor Swift's 'PR bulldog'
While Tree Paine may have had a modest part in Taylor Swift’s documentary Miss Americana, she has played a powerful role in Swift’s domination of the music industry and success as a contemporary icon. “There isn’t a publicist in NY, LA or Nashville that wouldn’t jump at an opportunity to work with someone as talented as Taylor Swift and her management team,” Paine said when she took the helm in 2014.
The New York Post called her a “PR bulldog,” yet Paine is extremely private about her own life. According to The Cut, her “Twitter is wholly dedicated to Taylor Swift PR; she doesn’t do interviews, and her Instagram is private.” Before working for Swift, Paine was the VP of publicity for Warner Music Nashville before she began her own company. Word on the street says she also loves cats (which is probably a prerequisite if you’re working for Taylor.)
Swifties seem divided in their assessments of Paine’s effectiveness as Swift’s publicist. Since joining forces, the singer has dominated headlines, but not always for the right reasons.
Swifties debate Tree Paine's success as Taylor's publicist
Is Tree Paine helping or hurting Taylor Swift’s controversial reputation? The Cut points out that “under Paine’s guidance, Swift’s last couple of years have played out intensely over social media: there was 2016 #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty, her extremely public breakup with Tom Hiddleston (#Hiddleswift), her feuds with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, as well as with Nicki Minaj, and the way in which she was painted as an alt-right icon by various neo-Nazi groups online.”
Swift even released an entire album, Reputation, that revolved around “lust, loss and revenge,” and she actually disappeared for a year because she was sick of “fighting for people’s respect.” Would all that have been even worse without Paine’s help?
Regardless, the Taylor Swift of 2020 seems to be enjoying a renaissance among both fans and enemies, and Paine is definitely part of the picture. After all, one does not throw shade at Kim Kardashian and not get noticed. Cue the #KimKardashianIsOverParty and #TreeEndedKimParty” tweets.
While Swift has proven she can fight her own battles, it’s also pretty clear that she’s got a powerful ally in Tree Paine.
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