Skip to Content
Music

This Security Guy Went Viral Singing Along to Taylor Swift in Minneapolis. Then He Got Fired For It.

TikTok-famous Calvin Denker of Mound has no regrets.

12:34 PM CDT on August 17, 2023

TikTok|

Mr. Denker, below, nailing a note; Ms. Swift, above, presumably nailing the same note.

The first two posts on Calvin Denker's TikTok channel, one from 2021 and one from last year, are both of his yellow lab chilling on the couch. They went largely unnoticed until this past June, when the video below from TikToker Alisa Maloney made Denker something of a viral sensation among Swifties.

@anmaloney

Security guard carried section A2! 🎶 @Taylor Swift @Taylor Nation #taylorswift #erastour #tstheerastour #minneapoliststheerastour

♬ original sound - Alisa Maloney

Viewed 2.9 million times, the clip features Denker working security at Swift's second night at U.S. Bank Stadium. (You can read our review of that show here.) He sways gently back and forth, mouthing the lyrics to "Cruel Summer" with low-key passion while the pop superstar's legs appear near the top of the frame. Fun, harmless stuff, right?

Wrong.

"When the first TikTok went viral, I actually thought that video would be enough to get me fired," says Denker, whose own TikTok account began blowing up after he posted firsthand accounts of his workplace fandom. "That night, a different security guard saw me singing and dancing just a little, and she leaned in to warn me about another employee who went viral in a different city, for singing and dancing; our regional manager was furious about it.”

Denker tells Racket he was "decently familiar" with a company policy against photographing or filming performers, though he found "a sneaky little loophole" that involved passing lil notes to fans in the front row, imploring them to film him. It's all explained in this video, which has notched 1.5 million views:

BEST, the crowd-management company contracted by the stadium, wouldn't drop the hammer until this week. (By then, Denker had already worked Ed Sheeran's U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday, which he very much enjoyed.) Denker, who's employed full time as a software engineer and works events for fun, informed followers Wednesday that he had been terminated by BEST over the Swift incident.

“I really don’t know why they care... I assumed it was great publicity for BEST," says Denker, a proud Swiftie. "The HR woman who had called me was pretty much only able to articulate that I was not allowed to take pictures with the talent... a couple days ago, when they sent me an official termination form, they said I violated the policy of not taking videos in the company uniform.”

Denker offered to delete the videos and pledged to never again record artists—directly or indirectly—though BEST was reportedly "pretty stern in their stance about keeping the termination going." That's fine by the moonlighting security guard, who explains that, while he's a casual Vikings fan, the idea of working 10-hour Sunday shifts this fall isn't all that appealing. He says he won't pursue legal action against BEST, and has asked followers to not swarm it with complaints. (BEST has not responded to Racket's request for comment.)

Denker has no regrets. Of the 600+ comments his first video has attracted, he estimates that three are negative—a miracle ratio on the internet. (He does note, however, that his most recent video has spurred "some controversy" about whether he was in dereliction of duty by not paying 100% attention to the job.)

"The Swifites as a whole really love that video. Someone said I have Golden Retriever energy in the video, and I love that one a lot," Denker says. “It was absolutely thrilling to go viral. Having my 15 minutes of fame? It was worth it, and I wouldn’t take it back.”

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Racket

Well, They’re Turning Emma Krumbee’s General Store into a Police Station

Plus an update on the Science Museum union, an Uptown land grab, and a Miami of our own in today's Flyover news roundup.

Mizna’s 2023 Twin Cities Arab Film Festival Spotlights Palestine and Morocco

One of the largest and longest running Arab film festivals in the Midwest remains a vital platform for regional and diasporic filmmakers.

September 27, 2023

‘Aging But Dangerous’ Calendar Proves You’re Never Too Old to Be Naked

Plus an Icehouse controversy, MN vs. Amazon, and a new 'dive-ish' NE bar in today's Flyover news roundup.