Taylor Swift's private jet was not 'spray-painted by climate activists'

American singer Taylor Swift has been criticised for her frequent private jet flights for her world tour.  But contrary to false claims shared online, her private jet was not one of the planes spray-painted by climate protesters from the group "Just Stop Oil" at London Stansted Airport. AFP analysed the features of the vandalised planes and found they did not match Swift's jet. Police in the southeastern English county of Essex also told AFP that activists did not vandalise the pop star's plane.

"Taylor Swift's private jet was spray-painted by 'Just Stop Oil' activists," read part of the simplified Chinese caption alongside a video post on X on June 20, 2024.

The video shows two young women wearing T-shirts with the words "Just Stop Oil." They can be seen trespassing on a private airfield before spraying two planes with orange paint. 

Screenshot of the false X post, captured on June 26, 2024

As the video circulated online, Swift was touring Europe as part of her Eras tour. She performed three concerts in London between June 21 and 23. The singer has been repeatedly criticised for her frequent private jet flights, leaving a large carbon footprint. 

The false claim also circulated in a German-language post that explicitly claimed it showed activists targeting Swift's jet at an airfield in the British capital London.

A similar false claim was shared in English, Thai and Indonesian

Airport protest

The video was first shared by the protest group Just Stop Oil on social media platform X on June 20, however, the post did not explicitly say Swift's jets were targeted (archived link).

"Just Stop Oil painting private jets hours after Taylor Swift lands," the post said.

The caption said the incident happened at London Stansted Airport, where Swift's jet was parked.

A longer post by the group on June 22 did not specifically claim that protesters had spray-painted Swift's jet. 

"On Thursday morning, they entered the private airfield at Stansted Airport, where Taylor Swift's private plane was parked, and sprayed two jets with orange paint," it said.

One day before the incident, the group's activists sprayed an orange substance on Stonehenge, the prehistoric UNESCO World Heritage Site in southwest England.

Swift's jet not affected: police

According to media reports, Swift's private jet landed at London Stansted Airport on June 19.

However, Essex police told AFP that her jet was not affected by the activists' actions as it was no longer at the airfield when they spray-painted the planes.

AFP has contacted the airport and Swift's press team for confirmation but a response was not forthcoming.

Taylor Swift performing at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, taken on May 24, 2024 (AFP / ANDRE DIAS NOBRE)

AFP has also reported that the two female protesters -- Jennifer Kowalski, 28, and Cole Macdonald, 22 -- have been arrested. They were charged with aggravated trespass and interfering with national infrastructure, police said in a statement. They denied all charges. 

Lack of resemblance

In the video that circulated online, only one of the two aircraft was clearly identifiable. 

The plane had the code N1875A and, according to information from the US Federal Aviation Administration, it belongs to a US bank, not Swift (archived link).

The code of the other aircraft could not be identified. However, both jets in the clip do not closely resemble Swift's aircraft model.

The key feature of Swift's jet type -- a Falcon 7X, according to the FAA -- is a third jet engine at the rear (archived link).

This feature, however, cannot be seen on either of the two aircraft in Just Stop Oil's clip.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the aircraft spray-painted by the protesters (right) and the Falcon 7X, with features highlighted by AFP: 

Screenshot comparison of the AFP photo of the Falcon 7X model (left) and jets in the shared video (right)


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