The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

Meet the Staff

Claire Heinritz is a sophomore at Free State High School and a reporter for journalism. At Free State, she is involved in girls golf and track. Outside of school, she likes to travel and hangout with family...

FEATURE: The Taylor Swift Effect

Rumors of Taylor Swift in downtown Lawrence cause fans to swarm
Photo: Free State Brewery

What would you do to get a glimpse of your favorite artist, athlete or public figure? Swifties around the country will do just about anything to see her. This was especially evident in Lawrence on Monday, Sept. 25, when Swift was rumored to have eaten lunch with Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce at Free State Brewery, and fans gathered outside of the restaurant on the slim chance that Swift or Kelce might appear. 

Simply wanting to see or get a photo of a celebrity is one thing. Stalking, chasing down and swarming them is another. Many fans were spotted outside of Free State Brewery, not only just in front of the door but also lined through the back alleyway behind the building. Imagine feeling completely locked in a building with no way out except into tons of people and cameras. Isn’t she deserving of even a little privacy? 

Free State Brewery staff members and owner have since denied that Swift dined there and there is no photographic evidence that she was even in Lawrence, but this brings up a broader question of how much privacy celebrities deserve. After all, Taylor Swift is a human being just trying to live her life and spend time with her rumored boyfriend Travis Kelce. 

After being spotted with Donna Kelce, Kelce’s Mom, watching the Chiefs game in Kansas City on Sunday, Sept. 24, increased dating rumors have since circled the popstar and NFL player. Making headlines on top news sites such as NBC News, ESPN and TMZ. With Taylor being so close by, this rumor did not seem too far-fetched for Kansas and Missouri Swifties. 

With Taylor Swift currently being at the peak of her fame, it seems inevitable that wherever she goes, a crowd is going to follow her. She has surpassed over 100 million monthly listeners on Spotify and is predicted to hit $1 billion in Era’s Tour ticket sales. If Taylor Swift was reportedly in Lawrence, Kansas, that would be big news. Pop stars in the midst of a record-breaking international tour don’t randomly dine downtown in Kansan college towns but if they do, it’s a big deal for the community. 

Even the mere prospect of Swift being on Mass Street caused students to want to skip class. With Swift having such a large effect on this period of time, meeting her can be a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

“I was just like, I need to get out of class. Even if there was a small chance that she was here, I wanted to just see her,” junior Vivi Riffel said. 

Although this is big news in Lawrence, this is not the first incident of fan bombarding that Swift has faced in her career. This comes one month after a crowd swarmed producer Jack Antonoff’s wedding just to see Taylor as a wedding guest. Those fans received immense backlash from the rest of the Swiftie fan base for their disrespectful and unnecessary behavior.

We, like many fans, thought at that time that if Taylor Swift were ever in our town we would stay where we were and let her live her life. But when we heard that she was allegedly in Lawrence and we had the means and opportunity to see her, we took it. Everyone has said at least once in their life “it is okay when I do that, but it’s not okay when others do it.”

It is easy for us to say that we would never do something, but it was proved on Monday that even Lawrence would take any chance to use Swift’s hype and fame to their advantage. Is it fair to the celebrities that we admire from afar to invade their privacy and create a media circus around them going to lunch? 

This situation alone says a lot about our generation. There was no proof, no physical or visual evidence of Taylor being in town, but word of mouth spread around that she was here and it caused pure chaos. We believe that Taylor and every other celebrity should have a basic human right to their own privacy and safety, but we also have a first hand understanding of the fan mindset when you hear that your favorite public figure is in your own town. 

Swift performs on a world stage nearly every week and gives her fans unmatched quantities of content to consume, so why should her personal life off that stage be just as tightly watched? 

About the Contributors
Chloe Cook
Chloe Cook, News Photo Editor
Chloe Cook is a junior at Free State and is one of the News Photo Editors. This is her second year on staff. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling and being outdoors.
Mallory Thompson
Mallory Thompson, News Photo Editor
Mallory Thompson is a junior at Free State. This is her second year on staff and she is Photo Editor for the Free Press Newspaper and Online. Outside of journalism, Mallory is involved in LINK Crew, National Honor Society, and the Student Library Advisory Board.
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