Debunked: The Empire State Building Didn’t Actually Light Up for Taylor Swift’s “Ketchup and Seemingly Ranch”

Don’t believe every meme you see on the internet.
The Empire State Building lit up for the annual "Run-Up" in 2018.
The Empire State Building lit up for the annual "Run-Up" in 2018. / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

The budding romance between Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been pop culture’s biggest story this week by far. But her attendance at the Chiefs’ home game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, September 24, did more than just confirm that the two actually know each other.

It also shed light on Swift’s football stadium snack choices. Fan account @tswifterastour posted a picture of the singer beside a plate bearing what looks like a boneless chicken wing and two condiments. “Taylor Swift was eating a piece of chicken with ketchup and seemingly ranch!” read the caption.

The phrase ketchup and seemingly ranch became meme fodder immediately, with everyone from Garfield and Mrs. Met to NYX Cosmetics getting in on the action. Heinz went so far as to announce a limited-edition run of its existing ketchup-ranch hybrid sauce with a special “Ketchup and Seemingly Ranch” label.

Naturally, the official Twitter account for the Empire State Building posted a photo of the building lit with red and white lights along with the caption “ketchup and seemingly ranch.” Most people seemingly believed that the landmark really did light up in honor of the singer’s condiment choices.

But it actually didn’t. Tyler O’Day, social media manager for the Empire State Building, posted a tweet clarifying that the building had just been lit like that at some point in the past. When another user asked him if he has “every combo of lights just archived somewhere,” O’Day said, “Of course.”

For the record, the photo, which showed the Empire State Building at night, was posted at 12:45 p.m. on September 27. The night before, it had been illuminated in red, yellow, and blue to celebrate the 45th season of Survivor. And on the night of September 27, it shone red, green, yellow, and blue to celebrate 25 years of Harry Potter.

But that’s not to say the landmark has never collaborated with Swift in the past. In August 2014, she hosted a livestream from the Empire State Building’s VIP observatory to announce her latest album, 1989, and debut the video for its first single, “Shake It Off.”

“To be honest with you, it’s kind of scary up here,” she said.