The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is slamming Taylor Swift for her demand to remove an article. In the article, blogger Meghan Herning calls out Swift’s silence over the white supremacists’ use of her lyrics.
Swift is threatening to sue the blog, PopFront if they don’t remove the article and retract. The ACLU claims PopFront shouldn’t have to because the writer has the right of the free speech.
Swift’s lawsuit is uncalled for
On Monday, the ACLU sent a letter to Swit’s legal team slamming the artist request to pull down an article by Meghan Herting. PopFront’s article details how white supremacist have embraced her lyrics and how her silence has exacerbated the matter.
“Ms. Herning and PopFront will not in any way accede to your attempt to suppress their constitutionally protected speech,” the letter from the ACLU reads. “The blog post is a mix of core political speech and critical commentary; it discusses current politics in this country, the recent rise of white supremacy,” it continues.
“And the fact that some white supremacists have apparently embraced Ms. Swift, along with a critical interpretation of some of Ms. Swift’s music, lyrics, and videos.” Later in the 6-page response to Swift’s attorney, the ACLU takes a jab at one of the artist’s lyrics saying,
“Criticism is never pleasant, but a celebrity has to shake it off, even if the critique may damage her reputation.”
The ACLU letter was in response to an Oct. 25 letter by Swift’s legal team in which they demand to remove the article as well as a retraction of the story. The letter also said Swift is prepared to proceed litigation if the story isn’t retracted over defamation. According to ACLU lawyer Michael Risher, Swift’s move is an attempt to suppress constitutionally protected speech.
Writer Herning published her own response to PopFront, writing,
“At a time when the press is under constant attack from the highest branches of government, this cease and desist letter is far more insidious than Swift and her lawyer may understand.”
— ACLU (@ACLU) November 6, 2017
But Where did all these fuzz began
Things kicked off on Sept. 5 when PopFront posted an article by Mehan Herning titled “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case KKK in formation.” In the article, Herning suggests that white supremacists choice of Swift’s music as a message of support to their beliefs is no accident.
“The idea that Taylor Swift is an icon of white supremacist, nationalists, and other fringe groups, seems to finally be getting mainstream attention,” she writes. “But the dog whistles to white supremacy in the lyrics of her latest single (Look What You Made Me Do) are not the first time that some have connected the (subtle) dots.”
Herning also points out that Swift’s silence on the matter of politics is a statement in itself, as she calls upon her to denounce white supremacy. “Silence in the face of injustice means support for the oppressor,” the article states.
The article goes on to suggest that lyrics from Swift’s songs and imagery from her videos is meant to embolden racists.
“Taylor’s lyrics in ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ seem to play to the same subtle, quiet white support of a racial hierarchy. Many on the alt-right see the song as part of a ‘re-awakening,’ in line with Trump’s rise,” the article reads. Herning also highlights similarities between Swift’s visuals and well, Nazi imagery.
“At one point in the accompanying music video, Taylor lords over an army of models from a podium, akin to what Hitler had in Nazis Germany. The similarities are uncanny and unsettling.”
This is not the first time Swift has been connected to White Supremacy
This isn’t the first time Swift is somewhat linked to white supremacists, and neither the first time she tries to legally well comparisons between herself and white supremacist. Back in 2013, a teenager named Emily Pattinson began jokingly overlaying quotes by Adolf Hitler on Pinterest photos of Taylor Swift.
At the time, Swift’s lawyers sent Pinterest a letter, demanding the images be removed, but the social media network refused. Swift’s legal team, later on, issued a statement that read,
“The association of Ms. Swift with Adolf Hitler undisputedly is ‘harmful,’ ‘abusive,’ ‘ethnically offensive,’ ‘humiliating to other people,’ ‘libelous,’ and no doubt ‘otherwise objectionable‘” From that moment on white supremacists began lauding Swift as an icon for their movement.
While some think it’s a long-running ironic joke, others seem to take it a little more seriously.
Columnist Milo Yiannopoulos explained in Breitbart the alt-right thinks “Swift is covertly ‘red-pilled,’ concealing her secret conservative values from the progressive music industry while issuing subtle nods to a reactionary fanbase.”