Taylor Swift’s designation as TIME’s “Person of the Year” for 2023 rankled pro-Palestine social media users, who are upset she has not commented on the Israel-Hamas war and believe Palestinian journalists are better suited for the award.
The TIME magazine cover is also being contrasted by some to TIME’s 2022 pick of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“times person of the year when russia invaded ukraine vs when israel is committing literal genocide against palestinians,” wrote one pro-Palestinian X user in a post that has been viewed more than 17 million times.
“i put no stock in these rags, but the idea that a white woman who churns out mediocre music is the person of the year when palestinians like [Motaz Azaiza] and [Bisan Owda] and [Wael Al-Dahdouh] are risking literal life and limb to just show us what israel is doing to them… laughable,” she added.
TIME’s criterion for the award is “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year,” meaning that the distinction is not an inherently positive title. As people have noted, it’s a designation Hitler once received, too.
Other users were upset over the fact that Swift has avoided publicly weighing in on the war.
“Taylor swift being the most influential person on the planet currently and her not saying a word about Palestine and then gracing the cover of person of the year which should’ve been given to Journalists fighting their ppl/their own lives, is unholy levels of sinister,” wrote one person.
One user claimed that Swift could stop the ongoing war with a singular Instagram post.
“The white American woman billionaire who could end the genocide of Palestinians with on[e] IG post is TIME Person of The Year,” posted one person. “White nonsense, white violence, white love of Black and brown genocide.”
An X community note below the post counters: “Historically, conflicts and wars have not ended due to Instagram posts. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that an Instagram post made by Taylor Swift will end the war in Gaza.”
“How dare Taylor not solve the Mid East peace process?” replied one user.
“Imagine believing a pop singer could end what amounts to *hundreds* of years of relentless geopolitical conflict,” replied someone else.
Others, however, rejected the idea that Swift could singlehandedly end the conflict but agreed that she should take a stand.
“We’re asking her to use her voice like she always advocates,” said one user.
“nobody asked you to personally start a revolution. literally just to share our voices where traditional media won’t,” wrote someone else.
It’s not just pro-Palestinian social media users who have expressed their dismay about Swift’s title from TIME. Some right-wing figures are equally upset about her designation due to her criticism of former President Donald Trump.