Swift, 33, kicked off the international leg of her acclaimed tour with four nights at Foro Sol stadium in Mexico City. During the concert on Sunday, August 27, Swift not-so-subtly referenced her 2009 VMAs incident with West, 46, during her emotional Evermore set.
Swift was thanking fans for their enduring support over the years and explaining the inspiration behind The Eras Tour when the audience took over. In footage shared via social media, she gave the camera one of her trademark surprised facial expressions as cheers filled the arena.
“People chanting your name, it’s really the only way to be interrupted,” she said as she turned her attention back to her piano. “And I would know.”
Swift’s quip came 14 years after West rushed the stage during her VMAs acceptance speech for Best Female Video, sparking a years-long feud. After she was announced as the winner for her “You Belong With Me” video, West grabbed the mic from Swift and declared his support for Beyoncé‘s “Single Ladies” visual.
“Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish. But Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” he said. “One of the best videos of all time!”
Swift, then 19 years old, told reporters after the ceremony: “I was standing on stage and I was really excited because I’d just won the award and then I was really excited because Kanye West was on stage … and then I wasn’t excited anymore after that.”
When Swift returned to the VMAs stage one year later, she performed the Speak Now ballad “Innocent,” which was penned after her debacle with West. He subsequently walked back his apology, telling The New York Times in 2013 that he didn’t “have one regret” about what went down.
The MTV awards show continued to play a vital role in the pair’s public relationship, with Swift presenting the 2015 Video Vanguard Award to West. “I guess I have to say to all the other winners tonight: I’m really happy for you, and I’mma let you finish, but Kanye West has had one of the greatest careers of all time!” she joked.
While it appeared as though the twosome had patched up their past drama, the resolution was short-lived. West referenced Swift on his 2016 track “Famous,” claiming, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous” — and the duo’s feud was quickly reignited.
After Swift hit back at people who “try to undercut your success” in her Album of the Year speech at the 2016 Grammys, West’s then-wife, Kim Kardashian, proceeded to stir the pot. “She totally approved that [lyric],” Kardashian, 42, claimed to GQ that June. “She totally knew that that was coming out. She wanted to all of a sudden act like she didn’t.”
A spokesperson for Swift shut down the accusations in a statement at the time but acknowledged that Swift spoke to West “once” before the song was released. Kardashian continued to claim that Swift flipped on West “to play the victim,” hinting on Keeping Up With the Kardashians in 2016, “It definitely got her a lot of attention the first time.”
Kardashian went on to release videos of West’s alleged phone conversation with Swift, prompting Swift to issue a now-infamous statement: “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009.”
The back and forth — and the public’s torn response to the drama — served as the inspiration for Swift’s 2017 album, Reputation. Fans believe “Look What You Made Me Do” and “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” allude to the feud.
An extended version of the Swift-West phone call subsequently leaked online in 2020. The pair’s ups and downs have remained at the forefront of pop culture, with Swift’s ex Taylor Lautner — who presented the 2009 award — even reflecting on the VMAs moment that started it all earlier this year.
“I’m just assuming that this whole thing was a practiced and rehearsed skit because why else would Kanye West be jumping up on the stage, interrupting Taylor Swift?” he recalled on an episode of “The Squeeze” in February. “[Then] I was like, ‘Oh, no. That wasn’t good.'”