Taylor Swift’s lawyers are threatening a lawsuit against a college student who has been tracking her private jet.
Jack Sweeney, a University of Central Florida student and the target of Swift’s cease and desist letter, has been running social media accounts that log the activity of private jets and helicopters owned by celebrities, oligarchs, and ultra-wealthy figures. One such celebrity is Taylor Swift, who has become notable for extensively using her private jet. A 2022 report combining data from Sweeney’s various jet tracking accounts showed that Taylor Swift was the “biggest celebrity CO2e polluter this year so far,” and named Floyd Mayweather, Jay-Z, and Steven Spielberg as some of the celebrities using their jets a bit too liberally.
Now, Taylor Swift’s legal team are gunning for Sweeney to take down the accounts. Per The Washington Post, one of Swift’s attorneys wrote in a cease and desist letter to Sweeney that they will “have no choice but to pursue any and all legal remedies” if Sweeney did not stop what they consider to be “stalking and harassing behavior.”
“While this may be a game to you, or an avenue that you hope will earn you wealth or fame, it is a life-or-death matter for our Client,” the letter reads, alleging that Sweeney’s accounts caused “direct and irreparable harm, as well as emotional and physical distress” and a threat to Swift’s personal safety.
Sweeney, meanwhile, feels the cease and desist letter is an intimidation tactic to get him to stop sharing data that is publicly available. Sweeney takes public information from the Federal Aviation Administration and uses volunteers who can track the aircrafts’ distance by the signals they broadcast. The accounts never offer complete details of a celebrity’s every move, and Sweeney claims that the trackers are not providing any more information on Swift’s whereabouts that her touring schedule and NFL games already do. “This information is already out there,” Sweeney told The Washington Post. “Her team thinks they can control the world.”
It’s not the first time Sweeney has come under fire for posting the publicly available private jet data. In late 2022, Elon Musk banned Sweeney from X (known as Twitter then) for posting his private jet information, calling the flight details “assassination coordinates.” It’s worth noting that Sweeney’s accounts do not share who flies on the planes and where they go after they land — still, Taylor Swift’s team alleges that Sweeney’s accounts are an invasion of privacy and encourage stalkers. Tree Paine, Taylor Swift’s longtime publicist, told The Washington Post, “We cannot comment on any ongoing police investigation but can confirm the timing of stalkers suggests a connection. His posts tell you exactly when and where she would be.”
While Taylor Swift’s team sent Sweeney the cease and desist letter in December 2023, Swift’s busy February is already causing some concern. In addition to frequent private jet trips to watch her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, play football over the last several months — not to mention the lengthy “Eras Tour,” — many have noted that Swift’s Tokyo concert is scheduled hours before Kelce’s Super Bowl appearance on February 11th. The Japanese embassy even posted on X recently that Taylor Swift “can still make it to Las Vegas” to support Kelce’s Kansas City Chiefs. A roundtrip flight from Tokyo to Las Vegas and back is roughly 11,060 miles, which measures out to about 3.2 metric tons of CO2 of emissions. Per the carbon emissions calculator on FlightFree.org, avoiding the trip is as climate friendly as being a vegetarian for six years and carpooling for three years.
Swift, who made Grammys history this week, will continue her “Eras Tour” this month with shows in Tokyo, Australia, and Singapore. Tickets to all her upcoming tour dates, including a North American run this fall, are available here.