The video for Taylor Swift’s song Anti-Hero, the lead single from her new album Midnights, has been altered days after its initial release to remove the word “fat” from one of its scenes.
In the original clip, directed by Swift, the 32-year-old singer and songwriter steps on to a bathroom scale whose dial spins to the reading “Fat”. In the new version of the clip, viewable below, Swift steps on to the scale, receiving a look of disapproval from a doppelganger also played by Swift, but no reading is shown.
The edit comes after some fans and commentators criticised the scale scene for perpetuating “fatphobia”. On Twitter, eating disorder therapist and body positivity blogger Shira Rosenbluth said the clip “reiterated yet again that it’s everyone’s worst nightmare to look like us,” while Teen Vogue writer Catherine Mhloyi described the scene as “lazy”: “In having the word ‘fat’ appear on the scale, she made a choice to explicitly name her demon, the fear of being called fat, which is fatphobia in its most literal sense.”
Other commentators, including Whoopi Goldberg, have come to Swift’s defence. “Just let her have her feelings – if you don’t like the song, don’t listen to it,” she said on panel show The View. “Why are you wasting your time on this? You always wanna say something about Taylor Swift – leave her ass alone.” Joy Behar added: “What’s she supposed to put on the scale, ‘plump? It doesn’t work.”
Swift herself has been open about her struggles with disordered eating. In her 2020 Netflix documentary Miss Americana, the musician discussed the way that media scrutiny over her body had caused her to “starve” herself at points in her life. The Anti-Hero video, she said in an Instagram post upon release, is a representation of her “nightmare scenarios and intrusive thoughts”.
The Guardian has contacted representatives for Swift for comment.