An American DJ accused of groping Taylor Swift is looking to exclude the expert evidence of a gender studies lecturer which alleged he would have been prompted to react after Swift challenged his “masculine status”.
David Mueller, who was fired from Denver radio station KYGO FM after Swift’s team complained about his behaviour at a 2013 meet and greet event, has filed a motion to bar the testimony of Dr Lorraine Bayard de Volo, a gender studies lecturer at the University of Colorado when the matter returns to court in August.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, de Volo’s report hypothesises that Mueller’s alleged actions would be consistent with a challenge to his masculinity by Swift’s confident presence, as well as her not paying enough attention to him, instead talking to his girlfriend and then co-worker, Shannon Melcher.
“In Mr. Mueller’s description of the events, though Ms. Swift was cold and standoffish with him, she had a positive rapport with Ms. Melcher that included hugging and compliments,” de Volo writes,
“Mr. Mueller said that he felt ‘invisible’ in the shadow of his girlfriend… Given that idealised masculinity entails dominance, leadership, authority, and assertiveness, this encounter would register as a blow to his sense of masculinity.”
She goes on to state that “motives for sexual harassment and sexual assault boil down to protection or assertion of status, including efforts to boost or repair an ego, get retribution, humiliate, intimidate, or (in cases of high-status women) invert a power imbalance between target and harasser”.
Mueller is attempting to have the report excluded, arguing de Volo is not a trained psychologist and has never met him.
Swift is pursuing a counterclaim against Mueller, after he sued her in September 2015 claiming he was fired from his job following an incident between the pair at Denver’s Pepsi Centre two years earlier, where it is alleged Mueller placed his hand up Swift’s skirt while the pair were being photographed.
In addition to his claim for lost income, Mueller is also bringing a claim against Swift for slander.
Swift counterclaimed for sexual assault and battery a month later.
In Mueller’s lawsuit he alleges he later spoke to an unnamed co-worker who “described and demonstrated how he had put his arms around [Swift], hands on her bottom” when it was his turn to meet the singer.
After the incident, Swift’s team provided “evidence” to Denver’s KYGO FM regarding the incident, and Mueller was fired in an “independent decision”, People reported.
In October last year, the court made public a videotaped deposition by Swift in which she recounts her emotions during the alleged attack.
“I remember being frantic, distressed, feeling violated in a way I had never experienced before,” she says. “A meet-and-greet is supposed to be a situation where you’re thanking people for coming, you’re supposed to be welcoming people into your home, which is the arena for that day, and for someone to violate that hospitality in that way, I was completely stunned.”