Considering she had no new album and zero nominations, it’s not a terrible surprise that Taylor Swift didn’t attend last night’s VMAs. Still, the MTV awards show is a celebration of the biggest names in pop, and even those who aren’t nominated tend to show up at least to join in the revelry and be seen. So Swift’s absence was indeed noticeable, enough to speculate that it might have more to do with her reignited feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian than not getting a Moon Man.
After all, the VMAs are the place that launched the Swift-v-West enmity with the infamous “Imma let you finish” speech, and where it all seemed to be put to rest when Swift presented West with the Video Vanguard Award last year. With the heat back on, attending a VMAs where the rappers’ controversial “Famous” video was up for a pair of awards and he was given free-reign of the stage could certainly be an uncomfortable situation.
Even if that were the actual case, it turns out Tay Tay didn’t need some flimsy excuse to avoid hearing West walk out for his speech to the very “Famous” lines that caused their recent rift. As Complex points out, it looks like the pop star was just doing her civic duty by participating in jury duty in her home state of Tennessee.
Now, considering how many times I’ve managed to avoid the call of jury duty, I imagine a music superstar could probably weasel her way out of it if she really wanted to. But if Swift really was trying to avoid witnessing her rival take the spotlight and call her out (“You know, like, people come up to me like, ‘Yeah, that’s right! Take Taylor!’” West said at the VMAs. “But bro, like, I love all y’all. That’s why I called her!”), federally ordered service is certainly a reasonable excuse.
Before you ask, the jurors hadn’t been sequestered yet and the below video and images were taken in the waiting area, so there’s likely to be no legal ramifications for the juror who posted them. Plus, she got an autograph from her famous co-jurywoman (in a copy of author Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, no less), so she really came out on top here.
Update: Turns out Swift won’t have to sit on the jury after all. Hayley Mason, a reporter for Nashville’s WSMV, tweeted that Swift was being considered for a case involving charges of aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, and domestic result. Swift told prosecutors she’s currently involved in a separate sexual assault case that hasn’t reached trial, presumably the one involving a Denver radio DJ who allegedly grabbed the singer’s rear during a photo-op. Swift maintained she could remain impartial, and though she made it to the next selection round, she was dismissed from the potential jury pool.