Taylor Swift Calls Out White House During Video of the Year Acceptance Speech at MTV VMAs
The singer-songwriter thanked her fans onstage: "You voting for this video means that you want a world where we're all treated equally under the law regardless of who we love or how we identify."
Taylor Swift took home the coveted video of the year award for her song "You Need to Calm Down" during the MTV Video Music Awards on Monday.
Ariana Grande, 21 Savage ft. J. Cole, Billie Eilish, Jonas Brothers and Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus were also up for the honor.
The singer-songwriter was joined onstage by many of the music video's stars, including Todrick Hall, Hannah Hart, Dexter Mayfield, Riley Knoxx, Jade Jolie and more.
Swift began her acceptance speech by noting that it was a fan-voted award. "I first want to say thank you to the fans because in this video several points were made, so you voting for this video means that you want a world where we're all treated equally under the law regardless of who we love or how we identify," she said.
Swift shared that the music video concluded with her encouraging fans to sign the Equality Act petition. "Which basically just says we all deserve equal rights under the law," she said of the legislation as she continued to encourage viewers to sign the petition.
"I want to thank everyone that signed that petition because it now has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House," Swift said. She then looked at an imaginary watch on her wrist as she implied that the Trump administration should address the petition.
"I love my cast. I am so grateful to everyone who was in this video. The ones that are here. The ones that are at home. We love you so much. Thank you for doing this with us," Swift continued. She then gave special shout-outs to the video's co-executive producer Hall and co-director Drew Kirsch.
"My cast live their lives so authentically. Thank you for being the example that you are. I love you guys so much," Swift concluded. "Thank you MTV for lifting up this point in this video. We love you."
The video also won the Video for Good award earlier in the night.
On Tuesday, Judd Deere, White House deputy press secretary, addressed the topic and Swift's call out onstage. "The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, the House-passed bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights," Deere said, according to a news report from CNN.
The anti-hate anthem's music video from Swift features a star-studded cast including Ellen DeGeneres, Adam Lambert, Ryan Reynolds, Laverne Cox, RuPaul, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the Queer Eye cast, Billy Porter, Ciara, Adam Rippon, Hayley Kiyoko and Katy Perry. The song targets Swift's haters and calls out those that attack the LGBTQ community, which is represented in the video.
She previously won the Video of the Year award in 2015 for "Bad Blood."
Swift was tied with Grande as the most nominated performer of the night. In addition to being nominated for video of the year, she earned noms in the song of the year, video for good, best pop, best direction, best editing and best art direction categories for "You Need to Calm Down" and best collaboration, best visual effects and best cinematography categories for "ME!" featuring Panic! at the Disco's Brendon Urie.
Earlier in the night, Swift took the stage to perform "You Need to Calm Down" and "Lover." Swift also plugged the Equality Act during the performance, which featured many of the stars of the video. The event marked her first televised performance following the release of her seventh studio album Lover on Friday.
The 2019 MTV VMAs took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco served as the host of the ceremony, which was broadcast on MTV.