On Nov. 13, 2023, a YouTube video claimed that actor Joe Alwyn had "furiously" reacted to singer Taylor Swift dating Kansas City Chiefs football player Travis Kelce without any evidence to corroborate the claim. The assertion was unfounded.
The video surfaced amid growing speculation about a romantic relationship between Swift and Kelce. Prior to the speculation about the two's relationship, Swift and Alwyn reportedly dated for almost six years before breaking up in April 2023. Swift made news on Nov. 11, 2023, when she changed a lyric in her song "Karma" that allegedly references Alwyn to be about Kelce instead, who was watching the concert with her father.
The unfounded rumor stemmed from a video by the purported celebrity gossip YouTube channel Gossip Tea with the caption, “Joe Alwyn Furiously Reacts To Taylor Swift Dating Travis Kelce,” and a thumbnail alleging Alwyn had said, "Back off!" about Kelce being linked to Swift.
That YouTube video had been viewed more than 35,000 times, as of this writing, since its upload on Nov. 13, 2023. Meanwhile, at least 10 TikTok videos with the same unfounded claim had collectively gained more at least 900,000 views. We also found the video posted to Facebook.
There was no evidence to support the assertions made in the YouTube video. If, hypothetically speaking, there was even a sliver of truth to the claim — for instance, if Alwyn had said anything about Swift and Kelce — reputable entertainment media outlets would have documented the ordeal. That had not happened.
In short, the claim appeared to be made up from whole cloth for the purpose of gaining clicks, or views, online. We've previously reported that Gossip Tea, a Thailand-based YouTube account, published similar fictional videos with thumbnails that claimed Swift and Kelce announced an engagement and were getting married.
Despite the fact that the video’s underlying claim was unfounded, the clip about Alwyn could seem believable because of its mentioning his former relationship with Swift. With that mixture of true and misleading information, as well as emotionally charged language, such videos with baseless celebrity rumors often generate hundreds, or thousands, of comments from YouTube users. Some of those messages indicate that people interpret the videos to be real news.
This was not the first misleading rumor related to Swift that captured social media users’ attention. For example, we previously debunked the false claim that Swift had publicly confirmed she was dating Kelce, an assertion that originated with a similar YouTube video.