Reaction to ‘American Pie’ singer tweet about Taylor Swift gift ignores domestic violence plea

Media has gushed this week that megastar Taylor Swift sent flowers and a fan letter to Don McLean after breaking Camden’s singer’s record for longest song to reach No.1 on the pop charts. His single “All Too Well” is 10 minutes, 30 seconds long, while McLean’s “American Pie” is 8 minutes, 36 seconds long.

The news – prompted by a McLean Twitter post – was reported by Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, People, ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “Entertainment Tonight”, among others, as a feel-good moment. Very few reports mention McLean’s guilty plea in a 2016 domestic violence case involving his then-wife Patrisha McLean, which was highlighted in his advocacy campaign, or that his daughter accused him of years of emotional abuse in a Rolling Stone interview. in June.

Swift’s gesture and the fact that the entertainment media ignored McLean’s criminal record and his family’s allegations show the influence that “American Pie”, his huge 1971 hit, continues to have in the arts world. and entertainment. It also strongly suggests that many fans, media and others are unaware of McLean’s recent past.

However, there are recent examples of groups who were ready to promote or praise McLean, 76, until they faced the news of his domestic violence case. In 2019, the University of California Alumni Association announced that it would present McLean with a Lifetime Achievement Award. But hours after learning from a reporter of McLean’s arrest and guilty plea, the association quashed the honor.

In June, Backbeat Books announced that it had canceled the fall publication of a children’s book based on “American Pie.” The decision was announced around the same time Jackie McLean – McLean’s daughter – accused him of a lifetime of emotional abuse in the Rolling Stone interview.

Don McLean was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence against Patrisha McLean at the couple’s Camden home in 2016. He has faced six counts, including one for domestic violence. He pleaded guilty to four counts and paid a fine of $ 3,660 in 2017. The assault charge was dismissed a year later. McLean, who also made financial deals with his ex-wife, agreeing to a $ 10 million divorce settlement, said he pleaded guilty to settle the case.

Swift’s gesture to McLean became public on Wednesday, after McLean’s tweet which included photos of the flowers and a handwritten note from Swift saying “your music has been so important to me” and signed “your fan Taylor”.

In a phone interview on Friday, Patrisha McLean, who founded the nonprofit Find our voices which is dedicated to ending domestic violence, called the gesture “quite the coup de grace”

“You sent the bouquet of flowers and the love note to the wrong person,” Patrisha McLean said, addressing her message to Swift. “A girl-woman empowerment icon like yourself needs to support victims of domestic violence, not perpetrators. “

Spokesmen for neither Swift nor Don McLean returned messages on Friday.

Jackie McLean, who is also a musician, had brought the charges against her father in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine about the release of his group Roan Yellowthorn’s second album, “Another Life”. On the album, she also wrote about the abuse she suffered as a child.

“Doesn’t she read Rolling Stone?” Patrisha McLean said of Swift. “Didn’t she read what my daughter said about her?” Doesn’t she know how to use Google? “

Jackie McLean did not respond to an email Friday asking for a reaction to Swift’s gesture.

In addition to the photos he tweeted on Wednesday, McLean wrote: “What a classy artist! Thank you @ taylorswift13 for flowers and remark!

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