Taylor Swift Removes "Fat" Scale Scene From Music Video Following Backlash

The discussion rages on.

2022 Toronto International Film Festival - In Conversation With... Taylor Swift
(Image credit: Photo by Amy Sussman / Getty)

Taylor Swift's new album, Midnights, has been almost universally acclaimed since its release last week, but the music video for "Anti-Hero" proved problematic for many fans, because of a scene they felt promoted fatphobia. Swift and her team have since listened to their complaints and removed the contentious scene.

Here's what happened: In the "Anti-Hero" video, the singer's alter ego watches on as she lives her life, judging her all the way. In one now-deleted scene, Swift weighs herself on a bathroom scale, with a close-up revealing the word "FAT" in lieu of a number.

The scene alludes to Swift's own struggle with an eating disorder, which she first revealed in the documentary Miss Americana.

While viewers understood the intent behind the scene, many found it insensitive, and felt that it reinforced already salient prejudice against people in marginalized bodies. The music video has since been updated to show Swift simply weighing herself as her alter ego watches on, with no close-up on the scale.

When the video was released, many people took to social media to express their views on the scale scene.

Eating disorder therapist Shira Rosenbluth tweeted, "Taylor Swift’s music video, where she looks down at the scale where it says 'fat,' is a sh*tty way to describe her body image struggles. Fat people don’t need to have it reiterated yet again that it’s everyone’s worst nightmare to look like us."

Rosenbluth continued, "Having an eating disorder doesn’t excuse fatphobia.

"It’s not hard to say, 'I’m struggling with my body image today' instead of 'I’m a fat, disgusting pig.'"

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Rosenbluth's tweets garnered tens of thousands of likes, with many people agreeing with her argument.

Another person tweeted, "i’ve seen people come to the defense of taylor here, which is wild because fat people are telling you it’s fatphobic. why don’t you believe them? there are better ways to give imagery to intrusive thoughts and eating disorders than a scale measuring 'fat' for a thin woman."

Others felt there was more nuance to the situation. One person wrote, "People have been saying that they think this moment in Taylor Swift’s music video is fatphobic but…to me it very clearly seems like a critique of fatphobia. I’m so tired of people with absolutely abysmal media analysis attacking artists without using any critical thinking"

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Another user felt the scene didn't reflect Swift's own views, writing, "Personally as a bigger girl myself I don't see it as a fat-shamy thing. The song is about self-loathing&intrusive thoughts&vices. The 'other' Taylor putting her on a scale that says 'fat' represents intrusive thoughts and low self-esteem/self-hatred,&judging yourself too harshly."

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Another fan wrote, "Perhaps we could use a different term, as I think people defending this as 'not fatphobic' are defending Taylor’s intentions. I don’t doubt her intentions, but it’s clear from the many fat people speaking on the Anti-Hero scale scene that the impact was fat people were hurt."

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Someone else said, "going to say something controversial: Taylor having to remove the word 'fat' from her music video doesn’t take away from the personal message behind the scale scene. She didn’t need it in the first place"

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The arguments on all sides are solid, but ultimately, it seems to me that deleting a scene that upset a lot of people can only be a good thing. The video still makes sense without it, and I welcome the ongoing debate about this important subject.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.