(FOX) — Taylor Swift is no longer performing at the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
The controversial horse racing event in Australia announced the Grammy winner, 29, would be headlining in early September but revealed on Saturday she pulled out.
The musician’s decision comes after animal rights activists criticized Swift on social media for “endorsing animal abuse” by agreeing to perform.
Michael Gudinski from Mushroom Events, which organizes the Cup, said in a statement online, “Regrettably, Taylor is no longer able to make it to this year’s Melbourne Cup. Changes to her Asian promo schedule have made it logistically impossible for her to be here. To all of Taylor’s fans, we hope to see Taylor in Australia in 2020.”
Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson added, “The VRC has learned that Taylor Swift is now unable to make the trip to Australia and therefore cannot be with us on Melbourne Cup Day. Obviously, this is disappointing for everyone. We understand how important the pre-Cup entertainment is and we look forward to providing an update shortly.”
After Swift’s name was attached to the event, animal rights group Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, took to Twitter asking her to cancel her performance with its #NupToTheCup hashtag.
Six horses have died while racing in the Melbourne Cup, including an Irish racehorse that was euthanized on the racetrack last year after breaking its shoulder.
“Taylor Swift has put money before compassion by agreeing to perform at the 2019 Melbourne Cup. An event where at least 6 horses have been KILLED over the past 6 years,” the group wrote on Facebook.
“With such huge success already, she could easily afford to not only say NO, but use the opportunity to help the horses by speaking up against horse cruelty in the racing industry,” they continued. “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.”
Upon learning the news, Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses spokeswoman, Kristin Leigh, said she was happy about the decision. “The pressure on Taylor Swift to cancel her performance was significant. Her fans did not want to see her supporting animal abuse,” she said.
No word yet on who will replace Swift on November 5.