Taylor Swift’s court case earlier this year against groping radio DJ David Mueller not only took the news by storm, but Swift subtly dug at the former host in her “Look What You Made Me Do” video, soaking in a tub filled with jewels and the one dollar she won in the case against him.
In TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year” issue, Swift is not only featured as one of the Silence Breakers being honored, but the mag digs into her court case, her refusal to stay silent, and why she decided not to be polite when she hit the stand in her defense back in August.
Mueller originally sued Swift for $3.4 million in a defamation suit after the “Bad Blood” singer called the former Colorado DJ out for grabbing her backside during a photo op in 2013. When 27-year-old Swift countersued for a symbolic dollar, the court case became one of the most watched of the year. Just weeks pre-Weinstein, Swift wasn’t afraid to speak out against the man, who grabbed her repeatedly under the skirt on her bare bottom, and her fierceness and frankness on the stand made headlines.
“My mom was so upset after her cross-examination, she was physically too ill to come to court the day I was on the stand,” Swift told TIME. “I was angry. In that moment, I decided to forego any courtroom formalities and just answer the questions the way it happened.”
Swift goes on to talk about how Mueller didn’t consider “formalities” while grabbing her, so she decided to be blunt on the stand, adding, “his lawyer didn’t hold back on my mom — why should I be polite?”
Swift also admits that leading up to the case, news outlets weren’t giving the songwriter a fair shake, and that on her first day in a Denver courtroom, there was an audible gasp from the gallery — spectators assumed it was Swift suing the DJ for millions, and were surprised to hear her named as the defendant, not just plaintiff.
As for Swift’s advice to fans in the aftermath of her trial, she wants those who are abused to know that it’s fine for them to come to terms with their assault at their own pace. “[Do] not blame yourself and do not accept the blame others will try to place on you,” she says.
“You should not be blamed for waiting 15 minutes or 15 days or 15 years to report sexual assault or harassment, or for the outcome of what happens to a person after he or she makes the choice to sexually harass or assault you.”
As for the future, Swift feels strongly that the moment we’re in, while important, isn’t over yet. In the end, she brings it back to Mueller, and her legal winnings: That lone dollar a Denver court ordered her abuser to pay her has yet to materialize.
“To this day he has not paid me that dollar, and I think that act of defiance is symbolic [of where we still have to go] in itself.”
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(Photo via Getty)