Taylor Swift threatens legal action against University of Central Florida student who tracks her jet

Jack Sweeney also drew ire from Elon Musk for tracking his jet
Taylor Swift arrives at the 66th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Posted at 1:33 PM, Feb 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-06 13:37:32-05

Attorneys for Taylor Swift are threatening legal action against a University of Central Florida college student who tracks the private jets of celebrities and public figures, including Swift.

Jack Sweeney confirmed to CNN on Tuesday that he received a cease-and-desist letter threatening legal action from attorneys for Swift over the social media accounts he runs that track Swift’s flights. The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

Sweeney is the same person who famously drew ire from billionaire Elon Musk for tracking his jet travels online. Musk, who owns X, disbanded Sweeney's account "@ElonJet" on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter in December 2022. Sweeney also runs accounts that track the private jet movements of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and a spate of other celebrities and public figures. Musk has previously said the accounts pose a "security risk" for him and his family.

Sweeney operates the accounts using publicly-available flight data from the Federal Aviation Administration and often includes estimates of carbon emissions from each flight he tracks in the posts.

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The letter from Swift's attorney accuses Sweeney of engaging in "stalking and harassing behavior, including consistently publishing real-time and precise information about our client's location and future whereabouts to the public on social media."

The letter claims this poses an "imminent threat to the safety and wellbeing" of Swift. It also accuses Sweeney of disregarding the public safety of others "in exchange for public attention and/or requests for financial gain."

The letter even references reporting on Musk offering Sweeney $5,000 to delete the Twitter account tracking his jet. (Sweeney refused this offer at the time and asked for $50,000, saying he could use the money to pay for college or perhaps to buy a Tesla).

The letter states that it is a "life-or-death matter" for Swift, who has dealt with stalkers and others who wish her harm.

If Sweeney continues to publish information tracking Swift's jet travels, her attorneys add, "She will have no choice but to pursue any and all legal remedies available to her."

Sweeney told CNN over email that he received the letter from Swift's attorneys after headlines that scrutinized the singer's carbon footprint.

Sweeney also told CNN that he never intended any harm with his actions, noting that he is compiling "public information."

"I actually think Swift has some good songs," Sweeney added. Still, he said, "I believe in transparency and public information." Sweeney also said there is high public interest from Swift's fans in the accounts, saying she should have "a decent expectation" that her jet will be tracked "whether or not I do it."

A representative for Taylor Swift did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment Tuesday. When asked whether there was any evidence that stalkers of Swift had used the jet-tracking accounts run by Sweeney, a spokeswoman for Swift told the Washington Post, "We cannot comment on any ongoing police investigation but can confirm the timing of stalkers suggests a connection. His posts tell you exactly when and where she would be."

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