College student who shares flight information for Taylor Swift's jet responds to her lawyers' cease-and-desist: "Look What You Made Me Do" – CBS News

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The college student who tracks Taylor Swift’s private jet online is flight back against the pop star’s lawyers after they threatened legal action against him. Swift’s attorneys said Jack Sweeney’s @SwiftJetNextDay account – where he posts the flight information for Swift’s private plane – tips off stalkers. But Sweeney’s lawyer says in a new letter that there’s nothing illegal about what he’s doing.
Sweeney’s website, GRNDCTRL, uses public information from the Federal Aviation Administration to share the flight information as well as fuel use and emissions of celebrity jets, including those of Kylie Jenner and Bill Gates. 
Sweeney, a college junior in Florida, also runs accounts on X, where he shares flight information for both Swift and Elon Musks’ jets, promising he posts the information 24 hours after each flight.
In a letter to Swift’s lawyers, Sweeney’s lawyer Ethan Jacobs says, “the @taylorswiftjets account is engaged in protected speech that does not violate any of Ms. Swift’s legal rights.”
Sweeney shared a copy of the letter on X with the caption “Look What You Made Me Do” – a hit single off of Swift’s “Reputation” album. 
Look What You Made Me Do
In December, Swift’s lawyers sent Sweeney a cease-and-desist letter saying his tracking of her jet tipped off stalkers as to her location, accusing him of effectively providing “individuals intent on harming her, or with nefarious or violent intentions, a roadmap to carry out their plans.”
Musk had taken similar legal action against Sweeney, saying the travel information shared on social media put his family at risk.  Sweeney’s original account, @ElonJet, was suspended by Twitter in 2022, according to BBC News. His account that tracked several private jets, @CelebrityJets, is also defunct.
But Sweeney’s lawyer says the letter from Swift’s lawyers fails to make any legal claim. He claims in the letter that her lawyers failed to make a viable stalking claim and the public information posted by Sweeney poses no threat to Swift.
“We doubt Ms. Swift will pursue meritless legal action, but if she does, we will defend our client’s rights,” the letter reads. 
In a statement to CBS News, Jacobs said: “Billionaires – even people as beloved as Swift – use empty legal threats to try to conceal their conduct. But what Mr. Sweeney is doing uses public information and is not unlawful in any way.”
After her team sent Sweeney the cease-and-desist, a spokesperson for Swift said the timing of Swift’s stalkers suggests a connection to Sweeney’s flight-tracking sites. It is unclear if stalkers have waited for Swift in an airport or city knowing she had arrived, and the spokesperson did not respond to questions about that claim. 
The most recent post on the @SwiftJetNextDay shows Swift’s jet going to Las Vegas from Burbank, California, on Feb. 11 – the day of the Super Bowl, where she was a high-profile attendee. The 39-minute flight was 223 miles and used $1,393 of fuel, which equals about 3 tons of CO2 emissions, according to the account.
CBS News has reached out to Swift’s attorney and is awaiting response. 
Caitlin O’Kane is a New York City journalist who works on the CBS News social media team as a senior manager of content and production. She writes about a variety of topics and produces “The Uplift,” CBS News’ streaming show that focuses on good news.
First published on February 21, 2024 / 10:31 AM EST
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Copyright ©2024 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.



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