Pop Culture

Taylor Swift threatens to sue student for tracking her private jet online

Taylor Swift has threatened legal action against Florida undergraduate student Jack Sweeney, who for years has run social media accounts tracking the private jet-setting of some of the world’s most rich and famous people.

Sweeney, 21, said he received a cease-and-desist letter from Swift’s legal team in December 2023 that accused him of “stalking and harassing behavior” to do with his chronicling of Swift’s travels on her private jet, the Washington Post first reported on Tuesday.

Sweeney’s accounts use publicly accessible information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and international aviation enthusiasts to publish information about celebrity-owned jets. The University of Central Florida student does not say who is travelling on the aircraft he tracks. Sweeney also does not track flights live and waits one day to post details online.

Still, Swift, 34, has insisted through her lawyers that Sweeney’s social media activity has contributed to her “constant state of fear for her personal safety” and has created a “life-or-death matter” for the singer.

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She claimed to have experienced “direct and irreparable harm, as well as emotional and physical distress” over the tracking of her private jet usage.

Indeed, Swift has had many alleged stalkers — a man in New York was recently charged with harassment and stalking after he was arrested outside Swift’s Manhattan townhouse in January.

In an attempt to highlight the stakes for Swift, the singer’s lawyer, Katie Wright Morrone, told the Washington Post that the timing of the alleged stalker’s arrival outside Swift’s Manhattan home “suggests a connection” to Sweeney’s flight tracking.

“His posts tell you exactly when and where she would be,” the spokesperson said.

Swift’s lawyer said they would “have no choice but to pursue any and all legal remedies” if Sweeney does not stop monitoring her flights.

Morrone speculated about whether Sweeney’s flight log tracking was “a game” or “an avenue that you hope will earn you wealth or fame.” Sweeney, however, has long since said his accounts are an attempt to hold the richest people in the world accountable for their carbon footprints.

“This information is already out there,” Sweeney told the Washington Post. “Her team thinks they can control the world.”


Jack Sweeney at the American Airlines Hangar.


Instagram @jacksweeney

Jack Sweeney vs. Elon Musk


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Swift is not the only celebrity to have Bad Blood with Sweeney. His jet-tracking endeavours have included the likes of Elon Musk, Donald Trump, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian and various Russian oligarchs.

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In 2022, Musk attempted to silence Sweeney and deleted several of his accounts, including his personal account, from X (formerly Twitter).

Amid the purge, X updated its media and private information policy. It is now forbidden to share “live location information” and “other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission” on X. (Since the deletion, Sweeney has created accounts to post about celebrity flights with a 24-hour delay.)

Musk accused Sweeney of sharing “assassination coordinates” with the internet.

On Tuesday, Musk voiced his support for Swift’s cease-and-desist against Sweeney.

“Sweeney is an awful human being. Taylor Swift is right to be concerned,” Musk, 52, wrote on X.

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Several of Sweeney’s social media accounts that tracked flight logs, including @ElonJet, have been banned from X and Facebook over insistences that his posts broke the platform’s privacy rules.

Regardless, Sweeney’s polarizing online efforts earned him a spot on the Forbes 30 under 30 list for 2024.

Are private jets bad for the environment?

Aircraft are known to produce greenhouse gases, namely carbon dioxide (CO2), which contributes to global warming. Though private jets are built in several different models, they are also known to generally produce a higher rate of emissions per passenger than commercial flights.

Often in his posts, Sweeney will include the cost of the fuel and the alleged emission rates for each flight taken by the high-profile person he is tracking.


Click to play video: 'Climate activists pivot on targeting the ultra-wealthy'


Climate activists pivot on targeting the ultra-wealthy


On his page that monitors Trump’s private jets, Sweeney claimed a recent (though undated) two-hour flight from Washington to West Palm Beach, Fla., used nearly 12,440 pounds of jet fuel and produced 20 tons of CO2 emissions.

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Can Taylor Swift make it to the Super Bowl?

Swift’s private jet, which is owned and operated by her company Firefly Entertainment, has been in the news recently for reasons beyond her carbon footprint.

With Swift currently in Tokyo, Japan for her Eras Tour concerts, eager Swifties are already buzzing about whether the singer will be able to attend the Super Bowl in Las Vegas on Sunday, where her boyfriend Travis Kelce is playing for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Swift’s final Tokyo concert is one day before the Super Bowl. Even the Japanese Embassy issued a statement about Swift’s travel dilemma and assured that the singer would be able to make the Super Bowl if she departed the country in the evening after her show.

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The 12-hour flight, if she attends the much-anticipated match, would likely be made on Swift’s private jet.

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