Main Character of the Week is a weekly column that tells you the most prominent “main character” online (good or bad). It runs on Fridays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.
The internet is a stage, and someone unwillingly stumbles onto it weekly. This makes them the “main character” online. Sometimes their story is heartwarming, like the Panera customer who called out the chain for her sub-par grilled cheese; usually it’s a gaffe. In any case, that main character energy flows through the news cycle and turbo-charges debate for several business days.
Here’s the Trending team’s main character of the week.
“I think she’s about to get canceled,” our Associate Managing Editor said Tuesday during our afternoon editorial meeting.
She was right.
Taylor Swift, a beacon of independence, power, respect, and empowerment ever since Kanye was mean to her in 2009, got “canceled” this week by Gen-Z environmentalists. Criticism of her private jet use has been rampant for years. However, a college student named Jack Sweeney went viral for tracking her publicly available flight information and posting it online.
According to Sweeney, who talked to the Daily Dot via LinkedIn message, Swift’s legal team is trying to silence him and has no good reason to. Swift’s team claims that Sweeney’s tweets and Facebook posts, which logged her private jet flights, were putting her safety at risk to potential stalkers. Again, her private flight information is publicly available data.
Sweeney began a mainstream reconsideration of the toll that rock music takes on the environment. Private jets are cool except for their carbon footprint.
And when the internet, specifically users on Reddit and TikTok, realized that Swift had taken a private jet to travel 28 miles, they snapped. That’s a 13-minute flight, according to Sweeney’s tracker.
“I just feel like she wants to destroy the environment,” wrote TikTok user @kalennotcabbage in a viral clip.
The timing couldn’t be worse for Swift, who is poised to take an airplane from Japan over the weekend just to be at the Super Bowl.
“Swift’s team suggests that I have no legitimate interest in sharing jet information, which is fundamentally incorrect. Her fans, who have grown the TaylorSwiftJets accounts and subreddit, are the ones truly interested. These tracking accounts consistently have more supporters and fans. When the Embassy of Japan in the USA expresses confidence that Swift can make a flight from Tokyo to the Super Bowl, it indicates public interest. Therefore, one should reasonably expect that their jet will be tracked, whether or not I’m the one doing it, as it is public information after all,” Sweeney said.
Prior to Sweeney’s posts, Gen-Z had not collectively rallied against Swift.
Swift’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment earlier in the week.