Taylor Swift's father allegedly punched photographer in face after Australian leg of her Eras Tour ended – CBS News

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Melbourne, Australia — A photographer told police he was punched in the face by Taylor Swift’s father on the Sydney waterfront on Tuesday, hours after the pop star’s Australian tour ended.
Ben McDonald said he provided police with a statement alleging that Scott Swift assaulted him at the Neutral Bay Wharf, where the father and daughter had just come ashore from a yacht.
However, a spokesperson for Taylor Swift told CBS News that at the time of the incident, “two individuals were aggressively pushing their way towards Taylor, grabbing at her security personnel, and threatening to throw a female staff member into the water.” 
Agence France-Presse reports that McDonald said he’d been taking pictures of the pop superstar and her entourage on a luxury superyacht in Sydney Harbor during an apparent late-night celebration after the Australian leg of her Eras Tour concluded.
The veteran paparazzo said he decided to report the attack to police despite not being seriously injured.
“It was just a punch in the chops. It’s a little tender, but I don’t have any bruising and it didn’t require medical assistance,” McDonald said.
“In 23 years, I haven’t been assaulted and punched in the chops, particularly by the talent’s dad,” he added. 
The New South Wales Police Force media office confirmed that police were investigating the alleged assault of a 51-year-old man by a 71-year-old man at 2:30 a.m. Police did not release names, in accordance with their policy for such allegations.
But AFP says that in addition to McDonald, a law enforcement source identified the man who was accused as Scott Swift.
AFP cites Australian police as saying Scott Swift “has left the country” but that inquiries were continuing.
Taylor Swift left Australia on a private jet Tuesday, after more than 600,000 fans saw that leg of her tour at seven stadium concerts. Singapore is the next stop. AFP says more than 300,000 fans gobbled up tickets to her six sold-out dates at the National Stadium.
McDonald said media had been waiting to photograph the star as she walked with her entourage from a jetty to two waiting cars.
“There were about four or five security there and at one point, one of the American security started shoving his umbrella into me and my camera and then Taylor got in her car,” McDonald told the AP.
“Someone else came running at me and punched me in the left side of my face. Initially, I thought it was an Australian security that was trying to be the hero of the moment in the front of the Americans, but as it turned out it was her father,” McDonald added.
McDonald said he realized that his alleged assailant wasn’t a part of the security detail after seeing a photo of him holding Swift’s hand while reviewing photos from the evening. McDonald later identified Scott Swift from an online picture.
McDonald said there had been no cause for violence.
“We didn’t go rushing down the jetty. We didn’t go rushing to the back of the boat. We waited for her to come up. Kept it very civil,” he said.
“But no, they had to be (expletives) and put the umbrellas up and umbrellas over her and then shove the umbrellas into our faces and then make out that we’re the ones making contact with them,” he added.
Taylor Swift’s fans hurried to defend her father in social media posts, according to AFP. “Free Scott Swift,” posted one such user, @Soyytv.
AFP says “Papa Swift,” as he’s come to be known, has become a fan favorite, “handing out sandwiches, fruit, guitar picks and VIP passes to young members of his daughter’s audiences.”
After a career as a financial adviser, Scott Swift regularly attends Taylor Swift’s concerts and public appearances.
First published on February 27, 2024 / 3:56 AM EST
© 2024 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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