Taylor Swift uses leaked Kanye West video to raise money for charity, coronavirus efforts

Swift said in an Instagram story that she wants fans to focus on "what really matters" and donate to charities during "this crisis."
Image: Kanye West, Taylor Swift
Singer Kanye West takes the microphone from singer Taylor Swift as she accepts the "Best Female Video" award during the MTV Video Music Awards in New York on Sept. 13, 2009.Jason DeCrow / AP file

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By Doha Madani

Taylor Swift took the attention focused on a full version of her 2016 phone call with Kanye West and used it to promote charities working to help people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The phone call is at the center of the controversy surrounding West’s lyrics about Swift in his song “Famous.” Swift claimed she was unaware that West would refer to her as “that b----” in his song. But West's wife, Kim Kardashian, shared a short and edited video in 2016 of West apparently speaking to Swift and getting her approval for the song.

A 25-minute video of the call between Swift and West was leaked Friday night, and it appeared to back up Swift’s story.

West at one point tells her, "OK, now what if later in the song I was also to have said, uh...'I made her famous'?" The profane word was never mentioned.

Fans of Swift — self-proclaimed “Swifties” — waited for her response to the leaked video, but were met with a weekend silence. The 30-year-old singer took to her Instagram stories on Monday to address the video, saying it proved she was "telling the truth the whole time," but then shifted the focus to the coronavirus pandemic response.

“Instead of answering those who are asking how I feel about video footage that was leaked, proving that I was telling the truth the whole time about *that call* (you know, the one that was illegally recorded, that somebody edited and manipulated in order to frame me and put me, my family, and fans through hell for 4 years),” Swift wrote. “Swipe up to see what really matters.”

Swiping up on the story leads viewers to a donation page to Feeding America. Swift urged fans to donate the World Health Organization during "this crisis" if they have the means.

Kardashian late Monday addressed the tape and said Swift was being untruthful.

"I didn’t feel the need to comment a few days ago, and I’m actually really embarrassed and mortified to be doing it right now, but because she continues to speak on it, I feel I’m left without a choice but to respond because she is actually lying," Kardashian tweeted.

Kardashian said that Swift and her publicist had misled people by saying that West never called to ask for permission.

“They clearly spoke so I let you all see that. Nobody ever denied the word 'b----' was used without her permission," Kardashian tweeted.

The phone call between Swift and West was the source of headlines in 2016 and beyond as critics accused Swift of lying to portray herself as a victim. It also caused some people to rehash the 2009 MTV Music Awards incident when West interrupted the singer, who was a teenager at the time, to say that Beyoncé instead deserved the Best Female Video.

Backlash against Swift for the 2016 video was so severe that she left the retreated from the spotlight for nearly a year, until she began to promote her “reputation” album.

“I just wanted to disappear,” Swift said about the incident in her Netflix documentary, “Miss Americana.”