A Mississippi radio exec hired the guy who sexually assaulted Taylor Swift, and here’s why that’s disgusting
Radio DJ David Mueller, perhaps best known for being accused of groping Taylor Swift in 2013 and suing her for $3 million, started a new gig in Mississippi this week. His boss, Larry Fuss, who could have stayed quiet about the hire or at least restrained in his response to the throng of fans attacking him for it, decided to instead tell the world he doesn’t believe Mueller groped Swift.
If that’s not bad enough, Fuss added though he hired Mueller based on his talent, the decision was “maybe a tiny bit” fueled by the surrounding publicity of hiring him.
“I sat down with him face-to-face in Minneapolis before I offered him the job and talked to him about it,” Fuss told the New York Daily News. “He’s either the world’s best liar, or he’s telling the truth. I tend to believe his version of the story, and most people who have talked to him face-to-face do believe his version of the story.”
The story in question dates back to June 2013 in an incident in which Mueller—then working at a station in Denver, Colorado—slipped his hand beneath Swift’s dress and grabbed her buttocks while posing for a photograph, according to the pop star.
Mueller was fired, prompting him to sue Swift for $3 million in damages based on his denial that he did anything inappropriate. (He lost.) Swift successfully countersued for assault and battery, asking for a single dollar as a statement that the suit wasn’t about money but principle.
Mueller’s career faded into obscurity until Fuss, CEO of Delta Radio, hired him to be a DJ on KIX country music station in Greenwood.
Chances are Fuss knew the hire would attract even more attention amid the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements in which sexual assault victims have come forward to tell their stories and confront those responsible. Even then, giving Mueller a job isn’t what’s drawn so much attention on social media. It’s that Fuss had the opportunity, no matter how poorly received it would be, to use the hire to forward the conversation about sexual assault and whether there’s room for redemption for those who’ve committed sexual crimes.
Instead, he chose to say, “That woman’s a liar,” which not only makes him look like a tone-deaf buffoon but shines a harsh spotlight on Mississippi in the process.
“Most of the response I have seen this morning — there’s been quite a few on our Facebook page, and none of it is radio people, none of it is local people in Mississippi,” Fuss told the Daily News. “It’s all originating from some Taylor Swift fan group somewhere. They’re telling people to go to this station’s Web page and post negative comments.”
In suggesting that “local people in Mississippi” would have no issue with the hire, it suggests sexual assault isn’t taken as seriously among Mississippians and that the only reason for the outrage is because Mueller’s conviction involves one of the world’s most famous people and her loyal, widespread fanbase.
The whole thing is dripping in Mississippi’s signature brand of moral hypocrisy given Mueller’s initial response to Swift’s accusations as being a publicity stunt considering his current boss admits benefitting from the attention of hiring him.
The difference, of course, is that Swift’s brand doesn’t need a publicity boost, whereas Fuss’s best attempt at a company PR strategy is to hire the guy who grabbed her ass.
Time will tell whether the move will disrupt the station’s existing audience and revenue for better or worse. Even if it proves to be a successful business move for Delta Radio, Fuss should keep in mind that at the end of the day, sexual assault victims in Mississippi are no different than those anywhere else. And if it’s tolerance Mueller hoped to find down here, he’s got a long road ahead of him.
Because a lot of us have stories to tell. And our microphone is bigger than his.