Many fans try to get the attention of celebrities with letters, artwork, and gifts. Russell Godfrey Greer decided to get Taylor Swift’s attention by taking her to court.
Greer, an ex-Mormon, has used the paralegal training he gained at the Latter-day Saints Business College to frantically vie for Miss Swift’s attention. The quixotic Utahn is at once a nobody and a figure with an online audience of hundreds who have followed his public efforts to romance Miss Swift.
Greer believes that not only does he deserve Swift’s attention, but he has a legal right to it. The argument underlying Greer v. Swift goes something like this: by responding to gifts and other gestures made by fans, Swift created an expectation that she would accept and appreciate other such gifts. When Greer recorded a love song for Swift—more on the song in a second—and it was turned away by Swift’s agents on her behalf, Swift became guilty of creating false representation. In a motion Greer filed in September, he analogizes Swift’s actions to those of a shoe store selling defective shoes while advertising them as high-quality.
In 2015, a pair of preteen Swifties folded a flock of 1,989 paper cranes in honor of Swift’s mother Andrea, who had been diagnosed with cancer. If Swift accepted those origami cranes, Greer asks, why shouldn’t she be expected to accept a love song written for her personally?
Greer’s song, “I Get You, Taylor Swift,” was produced through Tunedly, previously SongCat, a New York company that sets songwriters up with studio musicians, singers, and engineers. The song can be heard online for free. Its lyrics are a patchwork of song and album titles from Swift’s oeuvre: “Can’t imagine being ‘Fifteen’ / And waiting for Romeo on that ‘White Horse’ / Making you believe it was a ‘Love Story,’” and so on.
Greer blames the production company for the failure of “I Get You, Taylor Swift” to go platinum.
The Herculean creative challenges behind the song are recorded in Greer’s 2017 self-published autobiography/manifesto, Why I Sued Taylor Swift: and How I Became Falsely Known as Frivolous, Litigious, and Crazy:
“It was a long, tedious, difficult process that took a lot of time and concentration, but I imagined how happy Taylor would be when she heard it. I could imagine the kisses and the hugs and the laughs her and I would share with each other. I would be the best guy she had ever met. To boot, I would have an inspiring story about not letting my disability or bullies stop me.”
Greer has Möbius syndrome, a disorder that prevents him from moving his eyes from side to side, closing his mouth, or changing his facial expression. This rare condition is one of the central pillars of the identity Greer has built for himself: a disabled person inspiring others by overcoming his impairments, à la Christy Brown. From the jacket of Why I Sued Taylor Swift, describing Greer as an “advocate for disabled rights” to Greer’s unsuccessful bid to compete on America’s Got Talent as a “disabled motivational speaker,” it’s clear that Greer lives in an uneasy symbiosis with his disability.
For Greer, Möbius syndrome is an omnipresent burden—but it’s also part of what makes him a special and heroic individual, deserving of a pop star’s attention.