Taylor Swift appeared to aim a dig at US President Donald Trump after winning the biggest prize of the night at the Video Music Awards.
The singer-songwriter won the coveted video of the year for You Need To Calm Down, which criticises homophobia and features cameos from high-profile LGBT celebrities.
The video also endorsed the Equality Act, a proposed piece of legislation that would enshrine into law protections for the LGBT community in the US.
Accepting her Moon Person trophy on stage, surrounded by the cast and crew of the video, Swift said “several points were made” with the visual piece.
She added that the Equality Act petition boosted by the video had now attracted far more signatures than is required to receive a response from the White House.
Swift, who recently accused the president of using the “dirtiest tricks” during the election campaign, then theatrically tapped an imaginary watch on her wrist in an apparent dig at Mr Trump’s inaction.
The gesture continued a theme of Swift’s in recent months.
She has been increasingly vocal on LGBT rights, urging her fans to back the Equality Act and speaking out against politicians deemed to be hostile to the gay community.
Swift, who had 12 nominations at the start of the night and also won the video for good prize, opened the ceremony by performing under a rainbow before again making clear her backing for the Equality Act.
The words flashed up on the big screens behind her while she performed You Need To Calm Down and Lover, both from her newly released album Lover.
The VMAs, conceived in the 1984 as a more youth-focused alternative to the Grammys, are often better known for playing host to controversial moments rather than who wins its prizes, but scandal was in short supply on Monday night.
Winners included popular choices such as Cardi B, who won best hip hop for her hit Money.
Song of the year went to Lil Nas X’s genre-bending, record-breaking hit Old Town Road.
The Jonas Brothers’ Joe shared a kiss with his Game Of Thrones star wife Sophie Turner after the band won best pop video for Sucker.
The fan-voted for best new artist went to teenager Billie Eilish.
The 17-year-old is on tour in Russia so could not attend the ceremony but sent a video message thanking fans for the award.
Performers inside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, included Lizzo, who raised eyebrows by singing two of her hits, Truth Hurts and Good As Hell, in front of a giant pair of inflatable buttocks.
Miley Cyrus took to the stage amid her separation from Liam Hemsworth to perform her new single Slide Away, which is reportedly about the split.
Lil Nas X performed the single Panini while the Jonas Brothers played a hometown set at The Stone Pony, the bar which helped launch the career of Bruce Springsteen.
Rumoured couple Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes performed a steamy rendition of their number one hit Senorita.
The Cuban-American popstar and the Canadian singer-songwriter, said to have been dating since June, teased fans with an intense performance and came just inches away from kissing on a dimly lit stage.
The pair, who were seen holding hands in the audience, also won best collaboration for Senorita.
An emotional Missy Elliott was honoured with the Michael Jackson vanguard award in recognition of her influence on the medium of music videos.
She was introduced to the stage by Cardi B, who, in a typically colourful speech, said “nobody deserves to be in the video vanguard more than Missy”.
In the evening’s other honourary award, US fashion designer Marc Jacobs the first-ever MTV fashion trailblazer award.
Other winners include Rosalia, J Balvina and El Guincho, who took home best Latin for Con Altura and Billie Eilish, who was named push artist of the year.
The final performances of the night came from hip hop artists Redman, Fetty Wap, Wyclef Jean and Queen Latifah, who celebrated New Jersey’s role in the rise of rap music.
The MTV VMAs will air in the UK on Tuesday at 9pm on MTV UK.