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Did Taylor Swift’s ‘LWYMMD’ Director Copy This Taiwanese Pop Star?

Jolin Tsai / Taylor Swift via YouTube
Jolin Tsai / Taylor Swift via YouTube

When Taylor Swift unveiled the first teaser for her music video for “Look What You Made Me Do” on August 25, the immediate comparison that came to mind for many people was Beyonce’s “Lemonade.” While director Joseph Kahn has since denied that connection, a few eagle eyed Twitter users were quick to take note of some other similarities in the music video—this time not to the work of Queen Bey, but to that of C-pop icon Jolin Tsai.

A top diva in the Chinese-speaking market, Taiwan’s Tsai is one of the most successful female soloists in Asia, and one of her most well-known works is her 2014 song “Play,” the video for which “Look What You Made Me Do” appears to share a few similarities with.

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The two stand out moments in the video that mirror Tsai’s work are the crystal-filled bathtub scene—an image that clearly recalls the music video for “Play”—and the very same dance formation that was compared to “Lemonade.” Swift, backed by her legion of dominating male dancers, may as well have been pulled straight off the set of Jolin’s 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards performance. Some social media users even believe some of the dancers are the same.

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On Twitter, one fan noticed several other scenes that appear to be derived from Tsai’s work, highlighting how the throne scene and several other images from “Look What You Made Me Do” appear similar to “Medusa,” another 2014 music video by Tsai which features highly stylized choreography and snake-related imagery. The same clip also features the C-pop star regally seated upon a throne, and later grabbed at by a multitude of bodies, much like what is seen in Swift’s video.

This isn’t the first time Kahn’s work with Swift has looked familiar to Asian pop fans, however.

In 2015, he was called out for imitating multiple scenes from the video for now-defunct K-pop group 2NE1’s “Come Back Home” in “Bad Blood.” The director recently juxtaposed that past accusation with the current ones regarding “Lemonade” on Twitter, revitalizing the fury of 2NE1’s fans when he called it an “obscure K-pop video made in North Korean prison in 2006.” (For the record, “Come Back Home” was released in 2014 and was created in and for the South Korean music market.)

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