When we heard that 4chan had rigged an online contest so that Taylor Swift would have to play a free concert at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf, we were amused—not out of any cruelty toward the kids, but because we were dying to know how Tay would react to the prank. After all, it’s not like she could write a song about it.
Like us, you might be disappointed to learn that Taylor is laughing all the way to the bank, because she’s found a way to outsmart the internet’s most wretched hive of scum and villainy. I know, I couldn’t believe that a girl who probably goes to sleep on Lisa Frank bedsheets would be shrewd enough to outwit these guys, but here’s how it went down.
First, some background: In August, Taylor — with sponsors Papa John’s and Chegg –announced a Facebook contest where the winning school would receive $10,000 and the chance for Taylor to perform on-campus. Smelling a ripe opportunity for fuckery, 4chan and Reddit conspired to get ALL the votes for Horace Mann. And honestly, it wasn’t just them: Many voters were spurred on by the joke to actually make this dream come true for the kids. Plus, the principal/headmaster Jeremiah Ford said that his kids love music and would be delighted to see Taylor perform.
Well, Taylor wasn’t having any of it. She, Papa John’s, and Chegg all decided to disqualify Horace Mann because of how it got the votes. But lest you think that this makes Taylor into a spoilsport who can’t take a joke or be more open-minded, she turned around and gave the school a personal donation of $10,000, then got the other sponsors to match it, plus the same from CoverGirl and American Greetings. Then VH1′s Save the Music foundation jumped in. So if my math adds up, that’s $60,000 for Horace Mann, six times what they would have received had they stayed in the contest. Oh, and Taylor gave all the students free tickets to her next show.
No surprise, Principal Ford entirely supports this: “Are we the winner? Absolutely.”
So now instead of being embarrassed by Anonymous, Taylor comes out looking like a goddamned saint. All the other sponsors/affiliated companies rushed to match her donation so that they too might reap some of this goodwill. And 4chan is robbed of the opportunity to see this little Kennedy-in-training lose her cool.
I’m sort of impressed, but mostly I’m annoyed. Just let the internet have its fun, Taylor! You already get to metaphorically crush under your heel every bully from middle school. Do you really have to take on the whole Web?