University of Central Florida student Jack Sweeney, who has developed social media accounts that follow various jets belonging to the world’s rich and famous, said the superstar’s attorneys have sent him a cease and desist letter on behalf of the pop icon.
The 14-time Grammy winner lives her “life in a constant state of fear for her personal safety” and that Sweeney’s actions are “reckless,” according to a copy of the Dec. 22 letter from Swift’s lawyers provided by the college student.
“While this may be a game for you or an avenue that you hope will earn you wealth or fame, it is a life-of-death matter” for Swift, according to her lawyers.
Sweeney gained notoriety two years ago, shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when he began following movements of jets linked to oligarchs and Vladimir Putin allies.
Sweeney said he’s all about “transparency and public information” and has nothing to apologize for, as he uses publicly available data from the Federal Aviation Administration.
“I think it’s important to note that nowhere do I intend for harm, I simply share the facts,” he told NBC News on Tuesday. “I actually think Swift has some good songs.”
Swift’s lawyers could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.
James Slater, a Florida attorney who specializes in free speech issues and is representing Sweeney, said Swift — or any other jet owner — has no legal authority to block this kind of public information.
“There is no claim, there’s no claim to just publicizing public information,” Slater said. “And in Ms. Swift’s lawyers’ letter, they didn’t address any real claims.”
A Seattle man was arrested two weeks ago for allegedly stalking Swift outside her building in New York City. And Swift’s lawyers accused Sweeney of “stalking and harassing behavior” in the letter, an allegation that Slater found preposterous.
“In the letters, they accused my client of stalking Ms. Swift,” Slater said. “Stalking? He’s not following her, he’s not a paparazzo scoping her outside a nightclub. He’s on a computer tracking publicly accessible information.”
Swift could be days away from making one of the most closely watched private jet journeys in recent world history.
She’s about to play four nights at the Tokyo Dome, with her last gig in the Japanese capital on Saturday night — one day before her boyfriend Travis Kelce and his Kansas City Chiefs play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.
Her Eras Tour shows have typically ended between 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. That 17-hour time-zone gap from Tokyo to Las Vegas opens a window for Swift to board a private jet and be on the West Coast by dinner early Saturday evening, in plenty of time for Sunday’s big game.
Sweeney pointed out that many others are following Swift’s planes. and even Japanese diplomats are getting in on the fun of following the singer’s potential trans-Pacific journey.
“The tracking accounts routinely have more supporters and fans than otherwise,” Sweeney said. “When the Embassy of Japan in the USA makes a statement saying that they are confident Swift can make it on a flight from Tokyo to the Super Bowl, I think the people are interested and that you should have a decent expectation that your jet will be tracked, whether or not I do it. After all, it is public information.”
Swift herself has spoken publicly about the toll that stalking cases have taken on her, writing in Elle magazine in 2019 that she carries medical supplies with her that can treat gunshot or stab wounds.
“Websites and tabloids have taken it upon themselves to post every home address I’ve ever had online,” she wrote. “You get enough stalkers trying to break into your house and you kind of start prepping for bad things.”