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Kanye West apologizes for Swift outburst at VMAs

Associated Press | 9/16/2009, 8:19 a.m.
Video clip courtesy of MTV

NEW YORK — Kanye West apologized for yet another outburst at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), this time directed at country-pop sweetheart Taylor Swift. The disruption upstaged not just Swift’s awards speech, but the entire evening, including an emotional tribute to Michael Jackson.

In a rare conciliatory moment, West took to his blog to apologize. In a standard all-caps message, West said: “I’M SOOOOO SORRY TO TAYLOR SWIFT AND HER FANS AND HER MOM. I SPOKE TO HER MOTHER RIGHT AFTER AND SHE SAID THE SAME THING MY MOTHER WOULD’VE SAID. SHE IS VERY TALENTED!”

West — who has flipped out after losing at the VMAs, the Grammys, the American Music Awards and more — again took umbrage when the awards process didn’t go the way he wanted it to go. This time, it was on behalf of Beyoncé.

Beyoncé, nominated for best female video for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” was bested by Swift, the best-selling artist of the year outside of Jackson. The 19-year-old was giddy when she won for her clip, “You Belong With Me,” the first award given out Sunday, and said, “I always wondered what it would be like to maybe win one of these someday, but never actually thought it would happen.”

But West ruined her moment when he jumped on stage at Radio City Music Hall.

“Taylor, I’m really happy for you, and I’m gonna let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time,” he said, as a shocked Beyoncé looked on and the crowd began to boo.

A crestfallen Swift didn’t finish her speech, but the audience applauded her anyway. She later performed “You Belong With Me” in a subway station.

Swift later got a speech do-over, courtesy of Beyoncé, who won video of the year for “Single Ladies.” Beyoncé recalled that she won her first VMA at age 17, as a member of Destiny’s Child.

“I remember how excited I was,” she said. “I’d like Taylor to come out and have her moment.”

A smiling but nervous Swift then said, “Can we try this again?” before going on to thank everyone she would have thanked had West not interrupted her.

Later, backstage, Swift said she had never met West and had been a fan. She declined to get into a verbal tussle with West: “I don’t know him and I don’t want to start anything.”

Instead, she praised Beyoncé for giving her the stage.

“I thought that I couldn’t love Beyoncé more and then tonight happened, and it was just wonderful,” Swift said.

The celebrity crowd was unforgiving of West. When Diddy read West’s name later in the show while introducing the nominees for best male video, the crowd booed, and Diddy said in mock surprise, “What happened?” The crowd responded by chanting Swift’s name. (T.I. won the award.) The audience also booed West’s name later in the show.

Said West on his blog: “BEYONCÉ’S VIDEO WAS THE BEST OF THIS DECADE!!!! … EVERYBODY WANNA BOOOOO ME BUT I’M A FAN OF REAL POP CULTURE!!! NO DISRESPECT BUT WE WATCHIN’ THE SHOW AT THE CRIB RIGHT NOW CAUSE … WELL YOU KNOW!!!! I’M STILL HAPPY FOR TAYLOR!!!!”