The new enemies of the Argentine extreme right: Taylor Swift and BTS fans | ET REALITY


Javier Milei, a far-right libertarian economist, has remained at the top of Argentina’s presidential campaign alongside the youth vote.

To win this month’s runoff election, he will have to hold on to that key demographic, pollsters say. But now, a big obstacle stands in their way: the Swifties.

Pop star Taylor Swift’s Argentine fan squads have gotten political. They have set their sights on Milei and her growing libertarian party, framing them as a danger to Argentina, while Swift herself prepares to arrive in Argentina next week for the launch of her Eras Tour outside of North America.

“Milei=Trump,” read a post from a group called Swifties Against Freedom Advances, which is the name of Milei’s party.

After Milei came second in Argentina’s election last month, sending him to a runoff on Nov. 19, a group of 10 Argentine Swift fans created the group and issued a press release calling out their fellow fans to vote against Milei. . They said they were inspired by Swift’s past efforts to confront right-wing politicians in the United States.

“We cannot not fight after having heard and seen Taylor give everything so that the right does not win in his country,” the group stated in the declaration. “As Taylor says, we have to be on the right side of history.”

The two-page missive was viewed 1.5 million times on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, before the group’s account was suspended without explanation, the group said.

In the statement, he called Milei’s positions against legal abortion, his support for relaxing gun laws and his proposals to reform public education and public health care “a danger to democracy.”

The statement also took aim at Milei’s comments that criticized feminism, claimed there is no pay gap between men and women, and referred to atrocities committed by Argentina’s military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983 as simply “excesses.”

Milei, in response, has downplayed Swifties. “I’m not far-right,” she told a radio station. “They can express whatever they want.” Her campaign declined to comment.

Swift, who will perform the first of a series of three sold-out shows in Buenos Aires on Thursday, has not commented publicly on the Argentine elections.

Swifties’ criticism of Milei has steered the conversation toward her conservative social views and away from her drastic proposals to reverse Argentina’s economic crisis, which include ditching the Argentine peso for the U.S. dollar and shutting down the country’s central bank.

But it’s not just Swifties who are organizing against Milei. He and his running mate, Victoria Villarruel, also face criticism from legions of loyal fans of another musical giant, the K-pop band BTS. They are so active and organized on the Internet that they are known as the BTS Army.

Last week, the fury of that army was unleashed on Villarruel after a series of his tweets denigrating the K-pop group resurfaced. In 2020, compared the name BTS to a sexually transmitted disease. she also scoffed the tinted pink and green Hair of some members.

Those tweets sparked such a fierce response from BTS fans, accusing her of xenophobia, that a large BTS fan club in Argentina felt compelled to try to calm their fellow fans. “The message that BTS always transmits is respect for oneself and others” said a club statementwhich has been viewed 1.9 million times, according to X.

Ms. Villarruel’s only online reaction to BTS’s reaction was a post in which she called their post about STDs part of “funny talk” from “a thousand years ago.”

Milei’s political base relies particularly on young voters. A survey of 2,400 people in October showed that almost 27 percent of his support came from people aged 17 to 25, compared to less than 9 percent for Sergio Massa, the center-left economy minister who opposes Milei in the second round. People under the age of 29 represent 27 percent of all eligible voters in Argentina.

Many young voters said they see Milei, who has taken to wearing leather jackets and wielding a chainsaw at his campaign events, as the “cool” outsider candidate who has also become something of an online meme.

“Most people our age, between 16 and 25, are voting for him,” said Mateo Guevara, 21, a student who attended a Milei rally last month in Salta, a northern city. “He’s a guy who came out of nowhere.”

Milei and Massa seem to be heading towards a close contest. TO published survey On Friday, Atlas Intel showed Milei had a lead of four percentage points, with a margin of error of two points.

Swift avoided politics for most of her career. But in 2018 he broke his silence to oppose Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn in Swift’s home state of Tennessee, helping to trigger a surge in young voter registration in that year’s US midterm elections. .

Swift said she felt compelled to speak out against Blackburn, who was endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump, because the politician’s record “horrifies and terrifies me,” including positions on equal pay for women, violence against women and homosexuals. rights. Mrs. Blackburn ended up winning.

Swift’s song “Only the Young,” a rallying cry describing young people as agents of change, appeared in an ad by Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, in a get-out-the-vote effort in 2020.

And Mrs. Swift’s comments in a 2020 documentaryin which he said he had decided to publicly oppose Trump despite the risk to his career, have been widely circulating in Argentina in recent weeks.

BTS fans are their own political force and likely helped suppress participation at a Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2020 by reserving seats and not showing up.

Outside the River Plate soccer stadium in Buenos Aires, where Swift will perform next week, a contingent of Swifties has been camping out to watch the show. Many said they were not willing to mix politics with music.

“The reality of the United States is very different from what we live here,” said Barbara Alcibiade, 22, a pastry chef. “It’s true that a large percentage of fans may or may not follow certain ideals or values ​​that she represents, but that doesn’t mean she represents everyone.”

The Swifties behind the anti-Milei press release said they never claimed to speak for Ms. Swift or all of her fans. “That’s why we were very careful not to say that Taylor wouldn’t vote for Javier Milei,” said one member, Macarena, 29, who declined to give her last name because she said the group had received threats online.

But for Macarena and her friends, the parallels between Milei and Trump are clear.

“There is no statement from Taylor that you can use to say I’m going to vote for a far-right candidate,” he said.

At a K-pop dance school in Buenos Aires, BTS fans said Milei’s running mate’s 2020 comments dissing the group only served to reinforce their dislike of Milei.

“It was really disturbing because it’s always the same, xenophobic attacks, treating them as if they were different,” said Marcela Toyos, a 36-year-old teacher, after dancing to the BTS hit “Mic Drop.”

Macarena said she and her friends now have a WhatsApp group of 140 Swifties in Buenos Aires that plans to put up signs opposing Milei outside Swift’s concerts next week. The Swifties are also coordinating with smaller groups in other provinces, she said.

Before Swift’s arrival, the Buenos Aires Legislature voted Thursday to name her guest of honor. The only officials who voted against the proposal were members of Milei’s party.

Jack Nicas contributed reporting from Rio de Janeiro.

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