If the world was falling apart just a bit less rapidly, I would do nothing but guffaw over a Los Angeles Clippers employee using a burner account to start a rumor that Taylor Swift was dating Austin Reaves.
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What a prank from the team that is probably Los Angeles’ eighth most popular. A prank that was so good, it couldn’t even be started on a platform in which the user was attempting to represent a real person or organization. The employee told Fox Sports’ Melissa Robinson that he posted on Xwitter from his burner, @refridgeratorLAL, that Reaves and Swift were spotted together at an Arkansas bar, and photoshopped pictures of them side-by-side.
Format the post correctly, use the right image, and the masses will roll with anything. That is how Ballsack sports fools major media outlets, and how social media platforms keep people glued to their phones.
Researchers actually study this stuff. What kind of image will make users stop scrolling, and how to get them stuck in a rabbit hole chasing one topic is the type of information that makes social media outlets valuable. This person from the Clippers employee had the Laker colors in the avi, and a simple Photoshop technique using generic size Xwitter photos. The structure of the post and image convinced many people not to question the words, “seen at an Arkansas bar.”
I have nothing against the fine people of Arkansas. That state has given basketball fans Reaves, Scottie Pippen, and Big Nasty Corliss Willamson. However, Swift holds her concerts at professional sports stadiums. Her togetherness with Travis Kelce was made possible because he went to her show in Kansas City. The odds of her jumping on a bird to Arkansas to hang out in a public bar with Reaves, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, are none to absolutely not. She and Kelce have not been even spotted sharing a corner booth at a Kansas City or New York watering hole.
We at Deadspin saw the rumor over the summer, and used it to point out that Reaves was moving up the ranks of celebrity for his name to even be mentioned alongside Swifts’. He signed with the Lakers as an undrafted free agent in 2021, and by 2023 he has played in the Western Conference Finals, and has been named in gossip as the dating interest of the biggest pop star in the world.
And this whole summer gossip cycle began because an employee from LA’s clout-chasing basketball team made up a rumor about the homegrown rising star from the NBA clout leaders and the city’s favorite team. The Lakers even had fun with the story, when Darvin Ham joked with the media that Reaves is, “not afraid to tell Taylor Swift, no.”
A story that is worth all of cry-laughing emojis, except for the fact that it is another example of how people will believe anything. Good format, nice picture, juicy story, and people will just gloss over how unlikely it is that they would be hanging out at an Arkansas bar.