Was it offensive when a BBC journalist told Taylor Swift that she needed a shower?

Taylor Swift performs on stage at the BBC's The Biggest Weekend in Swansea

Here are some photos of Taylor Swift performing at the BBC’s Biggest Weekend in Swansea over the weekend. Taylor’s Reputation tour is going full-speed, although I don’t know if the gigantic stage-prop snake made it all the way to Swansea, but maybe. In any case, we’re getting a better look at Taylor’s costumes and… they’re not bad? A long-sleeved black leotard-looking thing, with a corset and knee-high boots – it feels very Beyonce to me, but Taylor looks good. The problem is that the ensemble looks pretty warm, especially when you’re performing on what seemed like a warm summery day in Swansea. So Taylor was really sweaty when she came off the stage, her sweatiness was noted by BBC interviewer Greg James:

Greg James tells her: “I think you need to have a shower now.” Taylor responded with: “I’m not offended that you said that. There’s a lot going on and none of it’s good here.” She must have been burning up. But the Snake Fam took issue with Greg James’ comment:

Quite honestly… I find it a bit rude too, and God knows I’m not part of the Snake Fam. I think there’s a really good chance Greg James meant nothing by it, and he was merely joking around with a star he had interviewed before. But I also think that there is some subtle and sexist body-policing happening with that kind of seemingly innocuous comment – girls don’t have to smell nice all the time. Girls can be dirty and sweaty and smelly and they can not give a f–k about your judgments on their body. Hiiiiisssssssssss.

Taylor Swift performs on stage at the BBC's The Biggest Weekend in Swansea

Taylor Swift performs on stage at the BBC's The Biggest Weekend in Swansea

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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106 Responses to “Was it offensive when a BBC journalist told Taylor Swift that she needed a shower?”

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  1. Sullivan says:

    Rude. He probably meant no harm, but it doesn’t make it any less rude.

    • DearWhitePeople says:

      I took it as, “I won’t keep you any longer, go and have some -me- time”. However, it’s funny to see the taylor swifts of the popster world dressing like Lady Gaga. I just hope this trend doesn’t filter down to grandmas on cruises.

      • tealily says:

        Yeah, pretty clearly. The guy’s just commiserating and saying “I’ll let you go now…”

      • Deedee says:

        Thought the same. I think he meant she was hot and uncomfortable in that hot outfit and she needed to cool off before she got heat stroke.

      • Marianne says:

        I thought the same. He’s saying “You must be hot and would love to go and shower.” Shrug.

      • Spargel says:

        Same. I read his comment as “Wow, you put on an amazing, energetic show and I’m impressed.” Sweat is a badge of honour in athletic circles.

      • Josie says:

        Depends on your view; it was Brit understatement.

        And her outfit was awful and she was a sweaty mess. Beyoncé she is not.

    • Eliza says:

      Just rude. Most performers are sweaty after their shows; male and female.

    • Anne says:

      I totally agree that it’s the kind of comment that’s probably not said judgmentally, but still came across as rude. And I totally understand why this became a thing. But honestly sometimes you need to ask people to shower. For example, my coworker usually goes 3-4 days without showering and changes clothes every other week. I’ve definitely asked him to shower and change before.

    • NeverEnoughCoffee says:

      I’m British and this didn’t come across as rude to me. It was a hot day and I would think anyone would feel uncomfortable being that hot and sweaty. A shower is a normal thing to do after that and I think he just just joking/commenting. If someone had said that to me, I wouldn’t have been offended.

      Also, even if she was slightly offended (some things seem to be taken differently by Brits compared to Americans), I don’t think his intention was to be rude. Sometimes people misspeak and things don’t come across as intended. We shouldn’t be so quick to jump on each other.

  2. sus says:

    Why do you always choose unflattering photos of women you don’t like?

    • Anon33 says:

      Pretty sure you answered your own question there…

    • Electric Tuba says:

      It’s not the authors fault you think the photo is bad though. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Besides if Tay does t like them I’m sure she’ll find a way to sue all of us for looking at them anyway lol

    • KatieBo says:

      It’s very telling.

    • Lady D says:

      LOL. It’s journalism 101, match the picture to the story, or give them what they want, or cater to your clientele, or emphasis your point…. Y’all are taking this way too seriously.

    • Tess says:

      Jesus @Sus, relax. It speaks more to you that you’re taking it so seriously.

    • Veronica S. says:

      I mean, in fairness, there are plenty of extremely unflattering shots of the men they don’t like on their stories, too. See: Johnny Depp, Donald Trump

    • Kaiser says:

      I generally choose close-up photos of men & women based on how clearly we can see their faces (like, I didn’t use the photos where Tay’s microphone was blocking part of her face), and I choose full-length photos based on how clearly someone’s outfit can be seen, for fashion-discussion purposes. I liked the header photo of Tay not because it’s “mean” (it is not) but because she’s giving a “you’re so rude!” look which I thought fit with the story really well.

      • Mina says:

        I thought the picture was perfect for the story! Besides, the other included photos are flattering-ish.

    • magnoliarose says:

      Kaiser already answered but my theory was that they fit the story and the truth is the “throwaway” photos aren’t as expensive. I just never thought it was a deep conspiracy. It makes me laugh quite often. It is also done with popular stars too.

  3. Loopy says:

    I think he meant she was so hot and dripping with sweat not like she was stinking.

    • KiddV says:

      Exactly. My husband does the same to me if I’m hot and sweaty after a workout. I’ll ask if I stink and he’ll say no, I just look hot and sweaty and cool shower would feel good.

  4. Lucy says:

    Yeah, not cool. Hope he apologizes.

  5. Skylark says:

    Eh, seems benign and harmless to me. It was sweltering hot all weekend (we’re having mad thunderstorms since yesterday evening) and he could just as easily have been acknowledging that and her likely need to cool down after performing in such heat. And she didn’t seem remotely offended so…

    • JJ says:

      People need to stop being over sensitive when it doesn’t matter at all. It was a light hearted comment, not an insult. I wouldn’t find it offensive at all. If she wasn’t offended why should anyone else be?

  6. Nicole Savannah, GA says:

    I’m absolutely NOT offended. Is that bad? If looked hot as hell and a shower would have been nice to get off all the sticky. It sounded like a comment that was never meant to be taken personally, policing of bodies, or otherwise.

  7. Erinn says:

    It was a dumb move, really. You don’t need to point out that kind of thing during an interview.

    • tealily says:

      I don’t think he was trying to point out that she was sweaty and hot… she was clearly sweaty and hot. He was just acknowledging that she probably didn’t want to be there talking to him.

    • Oh_Dear says:

      I don’t think his comment is offensive in any way, AND, the fact that it created this discussion has me wondering…. do reporters say that to boxers or football players when they are done their interview after a game? There may be some sexism in that he felt he could say it to a female performer but wouldn’t say it to a male performer.

      • Ghaia says:

        I know that I hear it a lot after football matches. Or soccer for our American friends. Either the interviewer says something like I won’t keep you from your shower much longer or the football player says I am just looking forward to my shower now. That was first thing that came to my mind when reading this story. So I cannot see any sexism here. Not a fan of these frequent storms of indignation on Twitter for any comment that could with a lot of bad will be seen as offensive. I feel they take attention then from the well deserved outcries for truly offensive or seist or racist shit

  8. BaronSamedi says:

    I honestly read it more like a jokey exclamation along the lines of ‘Whew, you worked your ass off on that stage and must feel like a shower now!’.

    I find it interesting that Taylor immediately took it to offense territory.

    Taking it to body policing and how girls can’t be sweaty is reading A LOT into this that was not there imho.

    • Birdix says:

      The difference there is “feel like” vs “need”.

      • Betsy says:


        In what world is it polite to basically tell someone they need to take a shower?

    • Maum says:

      Yes, me too. I thought it was a end of interview line.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      “I find it interesting that Taylor immediately took it to offense territory.”

      Did she? It seems like she actually laughed it off. Her fans are the ones that were offended.

      • Kitten says:

        Yeah I’m not seeing any quotes from Taylor about this in the featured article, just from fans angry on her behalf.

  9. Red says:

    Gah, it was a joke. She was sweating, because it was hot. Girls can sweat too. I saw pics of Niall Horan with massive pit stains at the same concert. Are we not allowed to talk about girls sweating now?

  10. Mari says:

    sure beyonce invented that look … it’s super unique sure

  11. Electric Tuba says:

    I mean dancing in a glitter turtleneck and pantyhose in the heat seams like the dumber move to me …

  12. heh says:

    The corset makes her looks heavier. sorry not sorry

    • KatieKins says:

      Everyone keeps saying she’s pregnant but I think she’s just gained weight, lol. It happens.

      • me says:

        Yeah I think she has gained weight…but she’s getting older and “filling out” which is normal. We can’t compare her to the weight she was as a teen, that’s not fair. She has more curves and some hips now…not a bad thing right?

      • Elisa says:

        She looks fab, so much better than her skinny self a few years back.

    • susiecue says:

      I think she “grew into” her breast implants. It really happens

    • magnoliarose says:

      She’s gained weight. As much as I can’t stand the woman I think she looks good and healthy. She was open about her diet and deprivation before. I believe her goal used to be to attain model thinness and maintain it. But she isn’t a model so it was unnecessary. Perhaps she decided to let her body mature and eat what she wants.

  13. jess1632 says:

    U don’t joke about having a shower when your noticeably sweaty w friends? It’s harmless and obvious that a shower or wipes would be great atm

    • Betsy says:

      Is the interviewer friends with her?

      • Lady D says:

        What if millions were watching?

      • jess1632 says:

        I’m pretty sure he’s interviewed her a couple times before…but I stand by point. I’m a server and if it’s hot out like it was yesterday (in Toronto) I’m sweating constantly. I mentioned the wipes cause a lady yesterday gave me to wipe the sweat from my face. I wasn’t embarrassed. It wasn’t millions of ppl watching but a busy restaurant so…

  14. Jussie says:

    The whole interview she was dripping sweat, wiping off sweat, red in the face and trying to fix her hair which was sticking to her. She looked pretty uncomfortable being filmed like that and she tried to half turn away from the camera and hide her face with her hands a bit a few times.

    I think he was just pointing out the elephant in the room to try and acknowledge the awkwardness.

    • Carrie1 says:

      Ohhhhhh ok this helps a lot. Thank you.

      I was thinking of decades of music journalism, imagining Beatles, the Stones, Joplin, Hendrix et al, and if any of their interviews included references to bathing or effects of performing on their person… can’t recall ever reading this kind of observation being included in an interview. So in that sense, this was gross of him to say. But after your explanation, I totally get it and think he was trying to give her an opportunity to speak for herself if she wanted to

  15. Shirurusu says:

    What? He didn’t say she smells he was clearly commenting on the fact that it was so warm everyone was melting out there including Swift. We have the same weather right now, I wouldn’t be the least offended of someone suggested a shower lol, I constantly want one!

  16. jammypants says:

    I always wonder how these costumes get washed when on tour. The beading doesn’t look like something you toss in the washer.

    • K says:

      They usually have multiples of costumes. Racks of identical leotards, bodysuits, etc. Some things will not withstand being in a washer and there’s also the thing that if these costumes shrink or get messed up or lost in the wash that’s another problem to be dealt with on a tight schedule in a non-familiar environment.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Dry cleaning, I’d imagine. And I’m sure they have backups upon backups available in case one gets misplaced or damaged.

      • jammypants says:

        Hm now that I think of it, gentle cycle might be the best option. I think people misunderstand dry cleaning. Dry cleaning is still tossing dirty clothes into a washing machine. Instead of soap though, they use a ton of chemicals to clean. I know because I grew up with a family that owned a dry clean business 🤓.

        That said, it’s a bit wasteful, no? To make so many outfits of the same style? Unless that gets donated after the tour.

    • magnoliarose says:

      Like it was said above she has numerous of the same outfit and I wouldn’t hesitate to think she has one or two for each show available.

    • Marianne says:

      Some of the really delicate stuff probably has to be handwashed. But they also probably have more than one version of each costume, and likely they have a dresser backstage to do any quicky sewing if something falls off or rips.

  17. Ina says:

    I took it as the journalist trying to be helpful about what would make Tswift feel better after working her ass off in the sweltering heat. Not offensive. And no one thinks Taylor Swift is dirty or has bad hygiene. He was just pointing out that she must have been uncomfortably hot and sweaty in that moment.

    • Lady D says:

      I don’t think he meant anything derogatory about it, either, but if he had added the word cool, cold or refreshing in front of shower, it would have been much better.

  18. Margo S. says:

    Yeah. That was sexist and I don’t think the interviewer knew that what he was saying would be taken that way. Girls and women don’t NEED to ever smell nice. They can smell however they want. One thing I’m always asking men in my life is “would you ask a man that question?” It gives them perspective.

    • F says:

      Where I’m from they would ask men that, so I guess it depends where you’re from because I didn’t once think of it as being sexist.

  19. BaBaDook says:

    Honestly, what I found offensive around TSwift lately was the fact that she posted on instagram she was happy to be back in “the UK” and then listed her Dublin, Ireland dates under it. We’re kind of trained in Ireland to be understanding when people make mistakes like that, but I’m kind of sick of nodding and smiling to that kind of ignorance. It’s like saying Canada is in the US.

    • WTW says:

      BaBaDook I don’t think the Canadian comparison is accurate since the UK is made up of multiple countries, including part of Ireland. The US is not.

      • Caela says:

        @WTW I think you need to be a bit more mindful of the history. Ireland have a different identity and government to Northern Ireland, and a lot of people fought and died over that border. In that sense I would say it’s more insensitive than calling Canada part of the USA. So she/her people should say “Europe” or “UK & Ireland”.

      • MI6 says:

        WTW: Dublin is part of the republic and not the UK. And Caela is right- there is important and sensitive history there.

      • Veronica S. says:

        I think it’s an unintentional oversight, but definitely one that steps on some political toes. The control of Northern Ireland is highly contentious and was the inspiration for the terrorist activity of the IRA in the 80s and 90s. The media firestorm has just died down enough that most American news channels and schools don’t give it the historical attention or awareness it deserves.

      • BaBaDook says:

        @WTW, to me as an Irish person it is just as ridiculous as calling Canada part of the US. We’re a separate thing.

        Thanks Caela, Veronica and MI6. You’re all right! It is a sensitive issue and one that bothers a lot of Irish people, myself included.

    • MI6 says:

      Here here!! 👍
      Now go take a cold shower 😂
      I totally agree.

  20. me says:

    He was joking and she laughed and agreed with him that she needed to take a shower. He didn’t say anything racist or sexist or even mean. There is way more in this world to be “upset” about.

  21. KatieBo says:

    Yeah… I don’t think this is a human rights issue… Much ado about absolutely nothing.

  22. Veronica S. says:

    I imagine it was meant as a joke about how much exertion went into her performance. This being said, as it always is with gender dynamics, you have to ask – would he have said that to a man?

  23. Millenial says:

    I think he was negging her. Perhaps unintentionally, but for some dudes that behavior is pretty ingrained.

    • AryaStark says:

      Oh for gods sake you uptight Americans. He didn’t mean anything by it. He’s British and an interviewer and brit interviewers are very casual in their interviewing styles. It was just an observation. Stop trying to look for problematic things where there are not. God do you get off being offended by everything?

  24. Mads says:

    People are being over sensitive about it. She was a hot sweaty mess.

    • Beth says:

      +100 I agree. It’s not like he pinched his nose, gagged, and told her that she reeked. Maybe she took his comment wrong, but there’s nothing rude or sexist about telling a hot, sweaty, tired performer who just got off stage that they should go have a shower. Good example of being too over sensitive

      • Jan90067(aka imqrious2) says:

        Again though… would he say it to a MALE performer?? DID he??

        Personally, I think this is a tempest in a teacup, but damn… we need to start making men AWARE of this shizz if we want it to stop!

  25. KBB says:

    I will never understand how popstars dance and run around with their down

  26. jferber says:

    I think it was stupid of him and DEFINITELY not something he’d say to Justin Timberlake or Drake. He should apologize.

  27. gingersnaps says:

    Haha, that’s Greg James and he is a nice man. I don’t think he meant anything bad or offensive.

  28. No Doubtful says:

    Not a funny joke, but I think her fans are up in arms over something very minor. He was teasing her and supposedly they are friends, plus she didn’t take offense to it…. so her fans need to relax.

  29. Chef Grace says:

    Speaking police.
    Maybe the whole human race should just not talk. Goddess knows, someone, somewhere, will be offended over something said.

  30. Valerie says:

    No. She was sweating.

  31. Starkiller says:

    Honestly, I think this might be a simple britspeak issue. I am not British but I lived there for a long time, and in my experience Brits are a bit more to the point than Americans—“you need a/an _____” is a pretty common turn of phrase. He likely was just trying to be polite and let her out of the interview to get the shower she obviously needed. I really don’t think he was trying to be rude.

  32. Meggles says:

    It was insanely, insanely hot and humid here over the weekend. Not weather for dancing in thick tight clothes. And what he said is completely normal by British standards. Obviously someone who’d just had to dance in those outfits in intense heat and is dripping sweat is going to want to jump in the shower asap. He was just being self-deprecating about keeping her from doing that long enough to do the interview.

  33. F says:

    It’s my personal opinion, but I don’t find that rude at all. I don’t even get how it could be seen as rude. She’s sweating and does need a shower. It’s an obvious thing and he didn’t have to say it but there’s no harm and she didn’t seem to mind.

  34. idontknowyouyoudontknowme says:

    I really don’t see anything sexist about this. People go on about Mcconaughey and Dicaprio’s hygiene habits, and imo when You are visibly look like You just ran a marathon people would tell you to cool down and take a shower..
    On a more superficial note- of course she can wear whatever she likes, but the red lipstick/black combo looks so costume-y and unnatural on her. She seems to have spring coloring and these winter hues and dramatic style look off. Her body does look quite nice though, her implants don’t seem disproportionate anymore and her legs are killer as always.

  35. raincoaster says:

    She looks like she’s wearing fishnets over pantyhose and I can’t IMAGINE how hot she must have been. I don’t imagine that dude is getting another interview any time soon.

  36. themummy says:

    I don’t think he meant that she smelled. I think he just meant that she just must be hot and sweaty (look at what she is wearing–and she is clearly hot). But yeah, it was rude anyway.

  37. Big Bertha says:

    Her hair…ugh.

  38. rabbitgirl says:

    I think any man telling any woman he is not in a relationship with (familial or romantic) to take a shower is rude. He can just leave now. Thanks. Bye.

  39. jferber says:

    I don’t get it. If this is Britspeak, we have a wide cultural divide on what is and isn’t polite to say.
    So here’s my impression of Britspeak: He was stinking rude.

  40. Marianne says:

    I think unless he really knows her well and they have a joke-y relationship, then its rude. She just came off the stage from performing. Of course she is going to be sweaty. Im sure she is quite aware of it and doesnt need it to be pointed out.

  41. Bluehair says:

    She’s put on a lot of weight.

  42. Davis says:

    I can’t believe anyone is trying to turn this into a thing. If someone is extremely sweaty and has BO then they need to take a shower. What if the interviewer was offended by her odor?

  43. Tara Beth says:

    It’s almost June. She’s wearing black velvet and pleather with her hair down around her neck. She is visibly sweating in the video. THE NERVE to suggest she worked hard on stage in a completely reDICULOUS outfit for the weather. The utter. Nerve.