Last August, Taylor Swift famously triumphed in the legal battle best known as “the Taylor Swift groping trial.” Now, the radio DJ who groped her is getting a second chance.
The details of the case concerned a disputed interaction in 2013, when the then-23-year-old pop star attended a Denver meet and greet during her Red tour. While greeting fans, Swift posed for a number of pictures, including one with KYGO radio DJ David Mueller. According to Swift, the Colorado DJ took this opportunity to grope her butt under her clothes.
According to BuzzFeed, Swift immediately told her security team and tour manager about the alleged groping. Not only was Mueller subsequently kicked out of the meet and greet and “banned from Swift’s shows for life,” he was also fired from his $150,000-a-year job co-hosting the radio show Ryno and Jackson. According to court documents, executives fired Mueller after they “determined he had lied about the incident and changed his story,” citing his contract’s morality cause. The incident resurfaced in 2015, when Mueller sued Swift for up to $3 million in damages, arguing that the accusation was a false one and had lost him his job. In response to Mueller’s legal pity party, Swift countersued with an allegation of assault and battery, claiming that she was “shocked and distressed by Mueller’s harmful and offensive physical conduct.”
While Mueller consistently denied groping the pop star, ultimately only allowing that he may have “jostled” her rib cage by accident, Swift’s powerhouse testimony told a different story. Speaking out at the civil trial, Swift insisted, “What Mr. Mueller did was very intentional.” When questioned by Mueller’s attorney, Gabriel McFarland, about the much-discussed photo of Swift and Mueller from the meet and greet, she replied, “Gabe, this is a photo of him with his hand up my skirt—with his hand on my ass. You can ask me a million questions—I’m never going to say anything different. I never have said anything different.” In her countersuit, Swift only asked for $1, with her lawyer announcing in opening statements that she was pursuing the suit on principle. Her suit argued that Swift’s stand would “serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts."
After a Denver jury ruled in Swift’s favor, Mueller took his time making good on the $1 debt. In December, Swift was one of a handful of women chosen to cover Time’s annual Person of the Year issue, representing the “Silence Breakers” of the Me Too movement. In a rare interview, Swift spoke to Time in support of other sexual assault and harassment victims, saying, “The brave women and men who have come forward this year have all moved the needle in terms of letting people know that this abuse of power shouldn’t be tolerated.” She also pointed out that, “When the jury found in my favor, the man who sexually assaulted me was court-ordered to give me a symbolic $1. To this day he has not paid me that dollar, and I think that act of defiance is symbolic in itself.”
The disgraced DJ ultimately paid his due, reportedly mailing the pop star a Sacagawea dollar. According to Page Six, Mueller “previously told the AP he intended the coin featuring a prominent Native American woman as a final jab at the singer in a case her side called a win for all women.”
Unsurprisingly Mueller, who was fired for allegedly groping Swift and then lost the lawsuit in which he attempted to claim it was a false allegation, has had trouble on the job market. After Swift’s victory in court, Mueller told TMZ that he began looking for work “within probably a couple weeks” of the groping. He continued, “Right now, I don’t have any offers. A lot of my friends in radio know that I’d be willing to even work for free. I offered to do a job that I did when I first got into radio, which is just screening phone calls. I think it’s hard for people to picture having me around…I’m hoping to clear my name and get my reputation back so I can work on a morning show. That’s my No. 1 passion, morning radio.”
Now it appears that Mueller has gotten his wish, with Delta Radio CEO Larry Fuss’ announcement that Mueller will be working in the mornings on KIX-92.7’s Jackson & Jonbob. Mueller reportedly started his new gig at the Mississippi station on Sunday morning, with the totally uncontroversial on-air name Stonewall Jackson. To hear Fuss tell it, his decision to employ a convicted groper under the moniker of a Confederate commander is only a little bit of a publicity stunt.
According to Radio Ink, when the Delta Radio CEO initially reached out to Mueller, the DJ responded, “Is this just a stunt, or do you really have a job open?” Fuss reportedly “told Mueller it was a little of both, but he really was looking for a morning person for his new FM in Greenwood, MS.” Fuss told Radio Ink that, “When he explains the Taylor Swift incident, he’s either the world’s best liar, or he’s telling the truth. Having heard him tell the story, I’m inclined to believe him and the rest of the staff seems to believe him as well. The evidence was rather inconclusive, but the jury was apparently star struck with Taylor Swift and found in her favor. It was a civil trial, not a criminal trial, so the burden of proof was much lower.” While he admitted to being “roundly criticized in a Facebook group for offering Mueller a job,” Fuss appears to firmly believe that “the man deserves a break.”
“On top of that,” he continued, “He has lots of talent and will sound great on KIX-92.7.” Delta Radio’s tagline is “Making Local Radio Great Again.”
Currently, Delta Radio’s website features Mueller under “team members” as “Jackson”: “The host of KIX-92.7’s ‘Jackson & Jonbob’ morning show and is also an ace marketing consultant. Need help generating more business for your business? Call Jackson for instant action. He can be reached at 662-743-0400, ext. 705.” The Daily Beast was unable to reach Jackson at that number.
Needless to say, Swifties are not happy about Mueller’s newfound employment. Fans have taken to social media to criticize Mueller, Delta Radio, and Fuss himself, urging others to call up the CEO with their complaints and reach out to companies that advertise on KIX 92.7. The station’s Facebook page, which currently boasts a modest 292 followers, appears to be deleting comments. It also seems that you can no longer “review” KIX 92.7 on Facebook; multiple Swift fans reported on Twitter that the station has turned off the review function, and have posted screenshots of now-deleted reviews from a number of concerned citizens. Still, it’s hard to judge the efficacy of this social media campaign. Local car dealer James Ceranti Nissan, one of the advertisers whose number is being circulated on Twitter, told The Daily Beast that they’ve received zero calls from angry Taylor Swift fans.
Reacting to the criticism, Fuss told the Daily News, “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. It’s all originating from some Taylor Swift fan group somewhere. They’re telling people to go to this station’s webpage and post negative comments.” He concluded, “It’s just people who don’t have a clue, or don’t really have any knowledge of the facts…Most of them need to get a life.”
Delta Radio did not return The Daily Beast’s request for comment.