Elon Musk jokingly warned Taylor Swift that her career might suffer after being named Time’s “Person of the Year” in 2023. The billionaire tech mogul first congratulated the pop superstar on X, formerly known as Twitter, Wednesday, but then quipped, “Some risk of popularity decline after this award. I speak from experience lol.”
Musk was previously named Time’s “Person of the Year” in 2021 for his influence on “life on Earth, and potentially life off Earth, too,” the publication’s then-editor-in-chief and CEO, Edward Felsenthal, said in a statement. At the time, the South African businessman was the richest person in the world – an honor he still holds – but appeared to be a prime example of humility by swearing off many worldly possessions, including most of his mansions. That same year, his company SpaceX also won NASA’s exclusive contract to return US astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972.
A New York Post op-ed hailed him as “the hero we need today,” who was made “in the mold of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs.” However, fast forward two years later, and Musk, 52, is fighting off claims of antisemitism after several major advertisers have pulled out of promoting their content on X. He is also in the midst of a parental rights dispute with ex-girlfriend Grimes over their three children. Musk told Swift he speaks from “experience” when it comes to popularity decline.
Time magazine notes, though, that the “Person of the Year” label is neither an award nor an honor. According to a spokesperson for the outlet, “It is a recognition of the person who had the most influence on the events of the year, for good or for ill.”
Disgraced dictator Adolf Hitler, who led the genocide of millions of Jews in the Holocaust, was named “Man of the Year” in 1938. Time says the individual named “Person of the Year” is someone who “had the most influence” for “good or ill.” Time has recognized that the German politician was a controversial choice but defended it in 2014, writing, “A lot of news is bad news and a lot of people who make bad news are very powerful people” and noting that Hitler “had a huge impact, not just in those years but over the entire century.”
Current Time editor-in-chief Sam Jacobs said on “Today” Wednesday that picking one person to represent eight billion people in the world – in a year where the “world is divided” – is “no easy task.” However, he said his team of editors landed on Swift, 33, because she “represents joy” and has “taken her own story and made it big enough for everyone.” Swift was chosen in part because she “represents joy,” according to Time’s editor-in-chief.
The Grammy winner wrote via Instagram Wednesday after her cover was released, “The biggest, loudest, most aggressively over-excited thank you to @time for naming me Person of the Year.” In her cover story, Swift got candid about her romance with Travis Kelce and past feuds with Scooter Braun, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. She has yet to respond to Musk’s playful warning about her looming popularity decline.
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