Why Taylor Swift Is Suing The DJ Who Allegedly Sexually Assaulted Her For Just $1

"She's just trying to tell people out there that you can say no when someone puts their hand on you."

Update, 8/14: U.S. District Judge William Martinez dismissed DJ David Mueller's lawsuit against Swift on August 11, citing inadequate evidence. Swift's suit against Mueller is still in court, as are additional claims Mueller filed against other members of Swift's team, as reported by Vulture.

When, in 2015, singer Taylor Swift took a stand against industry giant Apple Music, penning an open letter castigating its plan not to pay musicians royalties for use of their music during a 3-month trial period, she wrote that, although she spoke as a musician, the letter really wasn't about her or her own royalties. She was taking a stand on the behalf of artists with less resources — people who could benefit from someone like Swift speaking up for them.  

Two years later, It's hard not to see echoes of how and why Swift wrote that open letter, leveraging her own visibility to in an effort to protect others, in how she handling her current legal battle. The 27-year-old is currently in the midst of a high-profile sexual assault trial in Denver, Colorado against former radio DJ David Mueller, and she's countersuing his $3 million suit with a request for just $1.

The trial, which is expected to last into next week, stems from a June 2013 incident in which Swift alleges Mueller grabbed her bare backside while posing for a picture as part of a meet-and-greet before her Red Tour concert in the Colorado capital.


Days after the encounter Mueller says he was fired from his job at 98.5 KYGO because of the allegations, so in 2015 he sued the "Shake It Off" singer for making false claims. People reports that in his court filings, Mueller actually states it was his former colleague, Eddie Haskell, who sexually assaulted Swift, but in October 2015, Swift countersued for only $1, saying that it was in fact Mueller. She also asked for a jury trial, which is what's currently underway.

By only requesting $1, Swift seems to be trying to demonstrate to the world that, to her, this case is not about money. Instead, she's intent on taking a stand and encouraging women to speak out when faced with sexual harassment and assault, despite the fact that she is subject to increased scrutiny because of her status as a public figure. And even though this isn't the type of attention Swift usually garners, it's powerful to see her not shy away from it in an effort to empower others.

Per RAINN, only 344 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police and 20 percent of victims don't report anything because they fear retaliation, but Swift's actions have the power to encourage and embolden more women to come forward and speak up.

When the songstress took the stand on August 10, CNN reports she emphatically stated that Mueller, not Haskell, assaulted her, telling Mueller's attorney Gabriel McFarland, "This is what happened, it happened to me, I know it was him."

The Grammy winner later added, "I'm not going to allow you or your client to make me feel in any way that this is my fault, because it isn't."

Her attorney J. Doug Baldridge also made clear in his opening statement that the countersuit is all about principle. "She's not trying to bankrupt this man," Baldridge told the court of his client via Denver ABC 7's live case blog. "She's just trying to tell people out there that you can say no when someone puts their hand on you. Grabbing a woman's rear end is an assault, and it's always wrong. Any woman—rich, poor, famous, or not—is entitled to have that not happen."

To that end, Swift has stated, according to People, that any money she wins from her suit will be donated to "charitable organizations dedicated to protecting women from similar acts of sexual assault and personal disregard." Furthermore, court documents reveal the singer's goal is to "serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts." 

Because sexual harassment and assault is never acceptable, regardless of how famous someone is or how much money they have in their bank account.

Cover image via Shutterstock / Tinseltown.


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.