Taylor Swift has cancelled her scheduled performance at this year’s Melbourne Cup, with racing organisers blaming a scheduling issue.
On Saturday, the chief executive of the Victoria Racing Club, Neil Wilson, released a statement that Swift was “now unable to make the trip to Australia”.
Announced earlier this month, the singer’s Melbourne Cup performance had initially been billed as her only performance in Australia this year.
But the booking was strongly criticised by animal rights groups, who called on Swift to boycott the racing event at which six horses have died since 2013. At last year’s race, The Cliffsofmoher was euthanised on the track after fracturing his shoulder.
The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses had run a social media campaign to ask Swift to say #NupToTheCup.
“Taylor Swift has put money before compassion by agreeing to perform at the 2019 Melbourne Cup,” the group posted online after the announcement Swift would appear.
“Horses are being killed for gambling profits and entertainment. If Taylor Swift cares at all about other animals the way she appears to care about cats, she will cancel her show and make a strong statement that animal abuse is unacceptable.”
On Saturday, music booking agency Mushroom Events said the change was due to scheduling issues with Swift’s world tour.
“Regrettably, Taylor is no longer able to make it to this year’s Melbourne Cup,” said spokesman Michael Gudinski. “Changes to her Asian promo schedule have made it logistically impossible for her to be here.”
Wilson said it was “disappointing for everyone”.
Swift had initially been slated to perform two tracks from her new album, Lover, which is Australia’s highest-selling album of the year so far.