It’s a case of he said/she said, in which the claim and counterclaim are nearly impossible to prove, and outcomes have been historically unfavorable to women, even when there is solid evidence to prove their side of the story.
What she says happened:
While posing for a photo with David Mueller and his girlfriend, Shannon Melcher, Taylor Swift alleges Mueller reached up her dress and grabbed her behind. Despite her attempts to shift position, Swift alleges his hand remained firmly on that private part of her body and she says she has no doubt it was Mueller who groped her and that the groping was intentional.
Rather than confront the 6’3” and 200+ pound man, Swift waited until he had left, then notified security and her tour manager that the man had touched her inappropriately. Members of her staff tracked down Mueller and Melcher and escorted them out of the building. Swift’s team, including Frank Bell, who handles radio relations for Swift, contacted KYGO, the radio station where Mueller worked as a radio host, to complain, and two days later Mueller was out of a job.
What he says happened:
Mueller firmly denies having groped the pop star, that he noticed nothing unusual about his meeting with the singer/songwriter, and that if he did happen to touch her inappropriately, it was purely unintentional as they attempted to get into position for the photo.
In his complaint, Mueller mentions a conversation he had with his boss on the night in question. In it, his boss, a long-time acquaintance of Swift, allegedly told Mueller that he greeted the star by putting his hands on her behind before speculating the singer wears bicycle shorts underneath the costumes she wears on stage.
Mueller sued Swift for costing him his job as a radio morning show host, where he was earning approximately $150,000/year.
Swift responded by filing counterclaims against Mueller for assault and battery.
The fact that Swift did not immediately respond to the alleged groping according to Mueller will work against her. She however strongly refutes that claim. She points out that she was too surprised, offended, and upset in the moment to react right away, not to mention intimidated by the fact that Mueller is almost twice her size. She also did not want to creat a scene in front of her fans who had paid to see her at a meet and greet before the concert.
Attorneys for Swift have asked Lorraine Bayard de Volo to testify as an expert witness regarding how women generally tend to react when they are being violated in such a manner. We all judge others for not doing what we think a normal person would do in such a situation, but no one really knows what they would until they’re put in that situation. Ms. de Volo teaches at the University of Colorado as an associate professor of women and gender studies.
Swift is seeking just $1 in damages (which isn’t even enough to cover her legal fees) because it’s not about the money. Instead, she has said she’s filing this lawsuit so she can serve as an example to other women in similar situations who may be hesitant to speak out for fear they will be made to relive their most embarrassing and dehumanizing experiences. If you have the money to file the lawsuit, and the platform to make a statement, why not use it to fight for what you believe in?
If she is successful in winning any financial awards in her lawsuit, Swift has said she would donate it to women’s advocacy groups.
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