John Rich Calls Out Taylor Swift For Silence After Toby Keith’s Death
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Toby Keith has long been credited for helping get Taylor Swift’s career off the ground. Fans of Keith, including his fellow country star John Rich, are puzzled that Swift hasn’t acknowledged the singer’s death on social media.
Toby Keith passed away Monday (Feb. 5) after a two-year battle with stomach cancer.
His family shared the news in a post made to social media that read, “Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”
Tributes from fans and other celebrities poured in after the news was announced. But, one notable celebrity has yet to acknowledge Keith’s passing.
Taylor Swift has Toby Keith to thank for her first record deal.
In 2005, when Taylor Swift was an unknown teen, she signed her first record deal. She became one of the first artists signed to Scott Borchetta’s newly-launched Big Machine Records.
Reportedly, Toby Keith partnered his own label, Show Dog Nashville, with Big Machine Records and provided Borchetta with the financing and infrastructure needed to get Big Machine off the ground. Toby’s financing also allowed the label to sign a 15-year-old Taylor Swift to her first record deal.
In an interview Swift did that same year, she told a local news outlet that she didn’t think she would ever get to the point that she wasn’t in awe of Toby Keith.
“You’re in a room with him and you can feel it. There’s a power there,” Taylor said at the time.
It’s unclear how active Toby was in Taylor’s early career, but it’s clear he believed in her talent enough to put money behind her and get her career off the ground.
Following Toby Keith’s death, fans are calling for Swift to make a statement.
Thousands of posts honoring Toby have been posted in the hours and days following his death. But, Taylor has remained quiet. Country star John Rich called out Swift on X (formerly Twitter) for seeming to ignore the news.
“When is @taylorswift13 going to share some words about Toby Keith? The man who discovered her, got her the 1st record deal? Taylor, where are you today? #TobyKeith,” Rich wrote, and shared the clip of Taylor’s 2005 interview.
Watch Taylor Swift talk about Toby Keith in the 2005 interview below.