[There was a video here]

Taylor Swift, America’s cool freshman roommate and prominent part of this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, did not partake in cocaine backstage at this year’s VMAs, contrary to claims made about a video that circulated on the web today.

The above video, titled “Taylor Swift Doing Coke?”, netted 6,700 views on YouTube before a legal takedown notice from Viacom (MTV’s owner) scrubbed it off the site. Before its removal, a link to the video was sent to Gawker via SecureDrop, a platform for secure, untraceable communications between journalists and sources. In the video, which looks to be a recording of an official online livestream of the VMAs, Taylor Swift walks through a corridor with her phalanx of assistants. At one point, directly in front of a camera, Swift pauses, and one of her aides hands her something. At this point, the entourage forms a protective wall of arms and sisterhood, shielding Taylor’s face from view. Others look around uneasily, and a man who appears to be hired muscle stares directly at the camera. At least one distinct, loud nasal sniffling sound can be heard above the backstage din.

Gawker contacted Swift’s publicist Tree Paine about the video and the claims made by the person who uploaded it. Paine said Swift was merely blowing her nose, and didn’t want that image to appear on MTV. She also threatened to sue Gawker Media if we reported that Taylor Swift was doing cocaine, so do not draw that conclusion from this article. It would appear that Viacom invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to suppress an image of Taylor Swift engaging in an authentically human act.

This story checks out, anyway: according to AirNow, the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality forecaster and tracker, the AQI, a measure of air quality, in the area around the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday was 61, which is “moderate.” But a high resolution, frame-by-frame analysis of the footage confirms Paine’s explanation, as you can clearly see Swift holding what appears to be a kleenex or hanky:

Followed by Paine and another assistant crouching down and looking directly up Swift’s nose with a flashlight to check for errant boogies:

You can view the controversial scene in slow-motion here:

[There was a video here]

If Taylor Swift’s grinning glass of Pepsi persona is so carefully manicured that her publicist has to physically block a camera from capturing the act of her blowing her nose, imagine if it actually had been cocaine?

Note: it was NOT cocaine.

Contact the author at biddle@gawker.com.
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