Colleen Hoover and Taylor Swift over abstract background

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‘It Ends With Us’ trailer divides Swifties, Colleen Hoover fans

While reactions to the trailer were largely negative on X, the opposite was true on TikTok.


Kira Deshler

Pop Culture

Decoding Fandom is a weekly column that dives deep into the world of fan culture and runs on Wednesdays 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. 

Colleen Hoover is one of the most controversial authors working today, and any discussion of her work is bound to generate debate. An upcoming film adaptation of one of her books provoked much chatter online recently, thanks in large part to the involvement of an extremely powerful and outspoken fandom: the Swifties.

Last week, Sony dropped the trailer for It Ends With Us, based on the Colleen Hoover novel of the same name. The film follows Lily (Blake Lively), a woman who begins an abusive relationship with Ryle (Justin Baldoni, who also directed the film). The situation becomes more complicated when her childhood sweetheart Atlas (Brandon Sklenar) shows up.

The trailer uses Taylor Swift’s song “My Tears Ricochet” to drive home the angst, and many Swifties were not happy with its inclusion. Some took aim at Swift’s brother, Austin, who handles the licensing of her songs, noting what a fail it is that he couldn’t get a Taylor Swift song in Barbie but he gave one to Colleen Hoover.

Taylor Swift, Colleen Hoover fans react to ‘It Ends With Us’ trailer

When Taylor Nation, Swift’s official PR account, posted the trailer on their X account, the response was largely negative. “sorry but a Taylor song isn’t gonna make me watch a colleen hoover movie,” wrote one fan. “absolutely the fuck not get my baby away from that fucking trailer,” wrote another. One user called the needle drop “sacrilegious,” while someone else claimed the collab “belongs in the deepest pits of hell.”

Other users, perhaps less devoted to Swift, noted that the crossover actually makes sense. One controversial post reads “taylor swift is to music as colleen hoover is to literature.” Another user suggested “taylor falling victim to the colleen hoover industrial complex is perhaps the most white millennial woman thing she’s ever done.” Cultural connotations aside, the most likely reason for Swift agreeing to license the song is that the movie stars Blake Lively, one of Swift’s closest friends.

The movie trailer ignited long-standing debates about Hoover’s work, and It Ends With Us in particular. Anti-Hoover Swifties entered the chat to remind everyone that she glorifies abuse and is not worth stanning. A popular thread titled “Why Colleen Hoover is a horrible person” includes evidence like the time she tried to sell an It Ends With Us coloring book and a nail polish line, and her defense of her son against accusations of sexual harassment.

Several of Hoover’s fans refuted these takes, arguing that It Ends With Us doesn’t romanticize abuse but rather explains why women stay in abusive relationships. X users who are fans of both Hoover and Swift reacted to the trailer with passionate excitement, noting that the song and the story was making them depressed (in a good way). One fan wrote that they’re now “physically obliged to watch” the movie, and another noted that the trailer made them scream because “I cannot read/watch the character of Atlas without feeling physical pain.”

While reactions to the trailer were largely negative on X, the opposite was true on TikTokBookTok is where Hoover’s books first gained traction, and she owes much of her success to the fans on that platform.

When the cast of the film was first announced, Hoover’s fans were not happy. They thought Lively and the rest of the cast were too old to play the roles and Lively didn’t match the image of the character they had in their heads. (Abigail Cowen and Sadie Sink were two popular “fancasts” for the role of Lily.)

Once the trailer was released, many fans changed their tune. Numerous TikTokers noted that they are now hopeful the movie will be good, and posted their live reactions to the trailer. Several fans cried while watching the trailer, and others noted that they can’t wait to sob in the theater when it comes out.

On TikTok, fans celebrated the use of “My Tears Ricochet” in the trailer and some used other Taylor Swift songs in fan edits, indicating there is a significant overlap between these two fandoms after all. 

Why it matters

Fans tend to feel a sense of ownership over the things they love. Many Swifties don’t want Taylor Swift’s music to be associated with media they don’t like or think is in poor taste.

On the other hand, Colleen Hoover fans want the film to embody how they feel about the book and what they pictured in their heads. BookTok is as much about vibes as it is about the written word, and Hoover’s fans on the platform have embraced the Swiftie aesthetic in this case.

These divergent reactions indicate how difficult it is to ever fully please a single fandom, much less two at once.

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