Taylor Swift’s Charlie Puth Shoutout Has Fans Seriously Divided

It’s the “last thing” some Swifties expected to hear.

Taylor Swift (at the 2024 Grammy Awards) surprised fans by name-checking Charlie Puth (at the 2024 B...
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images; Jesse Grant/The Hollywood Reporter/Getty Images

Before Taylor Swift released her latest album, The Tortured Poets Department, there was at least one man fans felt certain would be mentioned: her ex Joe Alwyn. Other potential shoutout contenders included Matty Healy, her more recent (rumored) former flame, and Travis Kelce, her current boyfriend. The actual lyrics brought some surprises, including a big name-check no one saw coming.

Swift’s title track has a shoutout to fellow musician Charlie Puth. She sings, “You smokеd, then ate seven bars of chocolate / We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist.” It offers a snapshot of one of a couple’s little moments, but it had a big impact on social media, where it proved to be extremely divisive.

The Swifties Are Fighting

Swift’s opinion was shared by some of her fans, including the duo Dan + Shay. “We agree @taylorswift13 , @charlieputh should be a bigger artist,” they wrote on X (formerly Twitter, in part. A fan added, “Taylor has spoken the truth and I applaud her.”

However, plenty of others had the opposite take. “charlie puth is gonna be so annoying abt this for the rest of his life like why the hell did she say that omfg,” one tweeted. Others pointed out that Puth is already successful and she could have spotlighted another artist.

Taylor Swift’s cover art for The Tortured Poets DepartmentTaylor Swift/X

The lyric had leaked beforehand, and some fans couldn’t believe it was real. ‘“We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist’ is truly the last thing I thought I’d ever hear Taylor Swift sing in a Taylor Swift song,” one wrote.

The Selena Gomez Connection

One reason fans were shocked is because Puth was rumored to have dated Swift’s close friend Selena Gomez in 2016. They denied being romantically linked at the time, but he later said they had a relationship that was “very short-lived, very small, but very impactful” in a 2018 interview with Billboard. He added to speculation that his 2017 track “Attention” — a song he himself described as “mean” and “sh*t-talking” — was inspired by their time together, both in the Billboard piece and in a 2023 tweet. (Gomez has not confirmed that they dated.)

Fans haven’t forgotten that Puth made controversial comments about the woman who inspired the song, saying she was trying to manipulate him because she wouldn’t sleep with him. “I knew that she was trying to make me so embedded to her that I would never leave her, but I would never get what I wanted out of her,” he said in 2017, per Buzzfeed.

More Controversy

Fans have other reasons for their complicated feelings. His past comments about women haven’t sat well with some fans, and he’s also been criticized for his ties to Dr. Luke and some of his supposed social media activity supporting Israel amid the war in Gaza.

All in all, Swift singing about Puth has left many Swifties confused. As one put it, “that charlie puth lyric really just thrown me off why did she put that in there…”