Rachel Zegler defends Taylor Swift over ‘cruel’ comments from Barstool Sports hosts amid Travis Kelce romance

Rachel Zegler has defended Taylor Swift from “cruel” comments made by Barstool Sports podcast hosts about the pop star’s ongoing romance with Kansas City Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce.

After the Chiefs-Jets game on 1 October, where Swift made her second public appearance supporting her rumoured boyfriend, Pardon My Take podcast hosts Dan “Big Cat” Katz and Eric “PFT Commenter” Sollenberger made comments about Swift’s presence the following day that many fans have since deemed as sexist.

Fans condemned their remarks towards the 12-time Grammy winner, including actor Rachel Zegler, the star of the upcoming Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

“It’s not news that the media is particularly (and unwarrantedly) cruel to Taylor Swift,” Rachel wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, in response to the video. “But the way men feel entitled to speak about women, their bodies, and their sex lives needs to be seriously evaluated.”

“You will never see people speaking this way about a man,” she continued in a thread. “That goes for a lot of different scenarios. We do not pick apart men’s attitudes and relationships the way we do women’s and it’s not always just men who speak this way about us. Women can and do, too. It sucks.”

After seeing some of the responses dismissing Zegler’s words, the actor voiced how disheartened and disappointed she felt.

“Seeing a lot of ‘it’s a joke,’” the Snow White actress added. “But you’ve got to understand that since the beginning of time ‘you can’t take a joke’ has been synonymous with ‘let me say a horrible thing about women without suffering the consequences’ - we’re sick and tired! It’s never been funny! Get a life!”

In the podcast episode, the co-hosts claimed that Swift’s appearances at the past two Chiefs games took away focus from the game, with co-host Sollenberger saying: “If there was going to be a distraction, it would probably be the most famous person in the world dating your tight end.”

“Taylor Swift is a problem for the NFL. We have to unite as a group of fans. We can’t let this happen. She’s got to stop going to games,” replied co-host Katz, to which Sollenberger agreed: “She’s bad for football.”

After discussing a play the New York Jets made called the “octopus,” which is when a player scores a touchdown and then completes a two-point conversion, Sollenberger made a crude remark. After Katz joked that the team had scored “every single way this game,” Sollenberger added that’s what “they should call Taylor Swift’s vagina.”

The pair continued to make misogynistic remarks throughout the rest of the podcast, with Katz admitting that he’d only be more open to accepting Swift’s presence at Chiefs games if she and Kelce were to “release a sex video” together. Katz continued to graphically describe his “demands” for the hypothetical sex tape, adding: “Until that happens I think it’s fake, I think it’s for clicks, and I think Taylor Swift is using the NFL to make her star bigger.”

“If Taylor Swift is going to be taking over our Sundays I’m going to need to see a sex tape. These are my demands,” Katz captioned a clip of the “sex video” segment in a post on X, where it received over 26.1m views. Katz promptly faced intense and immediate backlash from both Swifties and non-fans alike.

“Insanely weird and gross thing to say,” another user said, while another wrote: “Maybe…just MAYBE, let’s not take a woman being in the spotlight meaning you can sexualise her without consequence just because she’s a woman, freak.”

“Publicly demanding sexual favours from a women in return for simply allowing her to exist in a male-dominated space, implying to thousands of young men and boys that women should have to ‘pay a price’ just for a seat at table,” someone else called out. “I’m disgusted being a woman is so f***ing exhausting.”

Responding to the backlash, Katz told X users that his comments were “a joke.” The podcast co-host wrote: “So you didn’t like a joke. That’s cool. Not everyone likes every joke. That’s how jokes work.”