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No one can stop talking about Taylor Swift's new single, even if it's among the most panned songs the singer has ever released. And if you saw the teaser for the music video to the song, "Look What You Made Me Do," you might have noticed a striking resemblance to a video from another ultra-famous artist.
Let's backtrack a little bit. A day after dropping the new single, Swift shared a brief series of clips from the "Look What You Made Me Do" video, and at the 12-second mark, you see her in an, ahem, formation that looks a lot like one posed by Beyoncé in the video for her song, "Formation."
It quickly became a meme on Twitter, with fans mocking Swift for appearing to shamelessly rip off another artist.
"My daddy Pennsylvania,— Marcia Belsky (@MarciaBelsky) August 25, 2017
momma from Pennsylvania,
You mix that Pennsyl with a Vania I am from Pennylvaniaaaa" pic.twitter.com/uJZ2K9fJX7
"I got Miracle Whip in my bag, swag" pic.twitter.com/5E8vkJN1C4— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) August 25, 2017
"Okay ladies now let's gentrification." pic.twitter.com/B8xL0oxrKl— Kar L. Stine (@karyewest) August 25, 2017
"if he hit it right, I might take his ass to Arby's." pic.twitter.com/IpocGzeQGX— Ziwe (@ziwe) August 25, 2017
Love this shot from taylor swift's new album "Skim Milk" pic.twitter.com/ZWetb7OWcY— Megan Amram (@meganamram) August 25, 2017
Not so fast, says the director of the video for "Look What You Made Me Do." Joseph Kann took to his Twitter page to defend the video he made with Swift, and says there's no real comparison between what she did and previous work from Beyoncé.
I've worked with Beyoncé a few times. She's an amazing person. The #LWYMMDvideo is not in her art space. Love and respect to Bey.— Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) August 26, 2017
That's not much of a defense at all—and really, saying something is not in Beyoncé's art space is sort of disrespectful of her talent—and that might not even be the most ridiculous part of his claim. In an attempt to parody their critics, Kahn is insisting the video draws inspiration from a bizarre place: a K-pop video shot inside a North Korean prison.
Before video release: Kahn copying Lemonade— Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) August 25, 2017
After video release: Kahn copying obscure K Pop video made in North Korean prison in 2006 😘
"We're definitely not copying Beyonce, actually we're copying a video you've never seen or heard of and that I won't name," is a pretty flimsy response to real concerns about Swift's originality. This is not to say Khan's claim can't be true, but he is not exactly making this look any better on their end while we all wait for the video.
Surrounded by all this controversy, Swift is still managing to crush records on the streaming charts. "Look What You Made Me Do" reportedly broke Spotify's global record for most streams during a song's first day, raking in over eight million listens in the opening window. The lyric video for the single is also crushing, and has hit nearly 29 million streams in the two days since it dropped.
With the video set to drop during Sunday's VMAs, we'll know if this is really a rip-off soon enough. Khan appears confident they'll be validated, so let's hope that belief is not misplaced.