Taylor Swift refused a $100m sponsorship deal with FTX months before its collapse

Apparently, the American pop star was the only one of the celebrity endorsers to do her due diligence on FTX and dodged the bullet by walking away from the deal.

Taylor Swift performing on stage during 2017 Super Saturday Night concert. Image: Makaiyla Willis under Creative Commons license.
Taylor Swift performing on stage during 2017 Super Saturday Night concert. Image: Makaiyla Willis under Creative Commons license.

Adam Moskowitz, the managing partner of Moskowitz Law Firm and one of the lawyers handling a class action lawsuit against high-profile FTX endorsers, told in an interview with The Block that Taylor Swift was the only celebrity to check whether they may be breaking the law by promoting unregistered securities.

"The one person I found that did that was Taylor Swift. In our discovery, Taylor Swift actually asked them, 'Can you tell me that these are not unregistered securities?'" the lawyer said.

According to a December report by Financial Times, FTX and Taylor Swift were in the late stages of negotiating a $100 million sponsorship deal that included issuing NFT tickets for the pop star’s concerts. The hefty nine-figure sum drew opposition from several members of the exchange’s marketing team, who cast reasonable doubts on whether Swift fans are really the target market for crypto trading.

Read also: Binance becomes the official sponsor of The Weeknd's tour

Sam Bankman-Fried, who turned out to be a fan of the pop star, initially favored the deal but was eventually persuaded by the former FTX US president Brett Harrison to discontinue the talks.

The unnamed former employee told Financial Times that the exchange sought a “light degree of endorsement” from Swift on social media, but the singer never even considered such an option.

“Taylor would not, and did not, agree to an endorsement deal,” the person said, quoted by FT. “The discussion was around a potential tour sponsorship that did not happen.”

Read also: Crypto influencers hit with a $1 billion lawsuit. Is there a global crackdown on crypto taking shape?

Some witty Twitter users were quick to point out that the pop star — who seemingly had nothing to do with crypto and finance — did better due diligence than respected VC firms that poured billions into FTX and had to write down their investments to zero when the exchange collapsed in November, revealing the shocking scale of mismanagement, cybersecurity negligence, and just plain fraud.

“The woman who wrote “Shake It Off” and has made a career out of producing bangers about spiting her ex-boyfriends conducted more diligence than Sequoia, a firm with $85B AUM. I love this country,” founder and CFO Robert Sterling joked on Twitter.

“Don’t be fooled by the nature of her song lyrics, Taylor is shrewd and business savvy. Much respect for what she has done for her career… plus she is genuinely a good person,” another user opined.

The lawsuit, spearheaded by Adam Moskowitz and his law firm, maintains that the high-profile endorsements were part of FTX’s scheme to keep the exchange afloat by driving international customers to invest in YBA accounts. According to the lawyer, 16 FTX celebrity brand ambassadors could be liable for as much as $5 billion in damages.

Other celebrities named in the class action include NFL star Tom Brady, his wife and supermodel Gisele Bündchen, comedian Larry David, NBA champion Stephen Curry, tennis star Naomi Osaka, and TV personality Kevin O’Leary. The last defendant in the suit, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, was served legal docs from Moskowitz law firm on April 17, after months of evading attorneys.

Adam Moskowitz believes that celebrities and influencers should be more cautious when they are offered promotional deals from crypto companies.

“I mean, why would you possibly promote cryptocurrency if it may be an unregistered security? That's just baffling to me,” Moskowitz said. “There's a long list of influencers that promoted this. But you know, you’ve got to be realistic. I mean, I can't go after 1,000 right now. So you go after the largest ones.”